After reading the article about writers under greater pressure to write more books each year, I wonder if we might all soon ask: what is a vacation?
No matter what our profession we need time off. Doctors and attorneys have to get away so they can continue to see what others do not in order to be successful at healing and justice. Those who work in industry must turn off the phone and turn away from 24/7 to regain perspective and refresh the imagination so products can be improved and new ones developed. Government employees need time away from a public that may include an ax-wielding claimant or a disgruntled person who starts making obscene phone calls at midnight. As writers, we must get away from the routine and let the mind drift so it can find a quirky new plot, let an intriguing character be born, or discover a different route our characters might take.
Writing is a craft. It is not an automobile assembly line. Yes, it is a business, but companies slide into a slow death when they stop producing a quality product. In the writing craft, we have to keep creating clever plots, gripping prose, and three-dimensional, evolving characters. We can all name authors, once loved, who fell into the slough of same plot, same characters just put into a different town and given different names. With regret, we gave up on them.
So three cheers for time off from the craft we love! As an author, I find traveling to conferences the perfect time not to write. After the most recent book is done and before the next is begun, I stop all work to let the mind float quite irresponsibly. After all, the most creative people are often children when they have the freedom to play. Watching what they can do in a park or play area is something from which private business, government, professions, and the publishing industry could learn much.