CREATIVITY Take time out


How often do you do something for yourself that doesn't involve a screen? Sarah Broadley reminds us (and herself) that inspiration is all around if we just look up once in a while.

A long time ago I left work in the financial sector for many reasons, the main one being the long hours. I was burned out and exhausted by the end of each day. A fictitious time-stealer had come along and stolen the remaining precious minutes I had left out of the 24 hours. There was no time for writing in between the demands of my life back then.

In the last few years I have found myself getting back into old habits. With a finger in quite a few literary job pies as well as trying to write, I became too busy and unaware that day was slowly turning into night (how is it 5/6/7pm already, ring any bells?) I had forgotten that the world outside is waiting to be explored. I also became easily snared by my WIP into the wee small hours and we needed space away from each other - it's not me, it's you, kind of thing.

You can't switch off being a creative, it's part of who you are, but we also need to be aware of our limits and take care of ourselves too. When was the last time you did something for yourself that didn't involve a screen? Yes, it's a different story when there's a deadline looming, writing commitments to be met, invoices to send, admin to do (until the end of time) but I love how I still think about my characters, the plot, scenes that I can't quite get through, while I'm away from my keyboard. I need to keep reminding myself that inspiration is all around me if I just look up once in a while.

You can't switch off being a creative, it's part of who you are — but we also need to be aware of our limits and take care of ourselves too

I had forgotten how to put my out of office on so changes needed to be made. I no longer sit at my desk at the weekend, I take a notebook outside with me instead. Monday then comes around as if I’m greeting an old friend and we carry on as if we’d never been apart.

We're all busy with family, jobs and the stresses of life but allowing yourself time for you is worth its weight in gold — 10 minutes, an hour, how ever long you need or can actually realistically get. Turn off your phone, shut your eyes for five minutes, have your cuppa at the window away from your desk, take in the sunshine (we definitely need it up here in the north), listen to some Nina Simone (highly recommend) and breathe.

You’re doing great.

*Header image: Shannon Ell


Sarah Broadley writes for children of all ages and lives in Edinburgh. She is a member of SCBWI Scotland, the Society of Authors and the Scottish Book Festival Network. A trustee on the board of Cymera Writing Festival, she also chats with creatives on her Words & Pictures feature Writers’ Minds and is a children’s book reviewer for on-line resource My Book Corner.


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