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Factor in Eating Breaks When Writing

Do you factor in eating breaks, or do you eat lunch while writing? See my previous two posts. When you work from home, you need to separate working from not-working. That means having scheduled breaks and a lunch time, the same as if I worked a “regular” job somewhere. Because being a full-time writing is, in fact, a job.

Factor in Eating Breaks When Writing

I follow the Finnish classroom schedule: work for 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break. They use this from the equivalent of elementary school through university. For smaller kids, it gives them the chance to get the wiggles out and run around. Older students get to go to the backroom, grab some water or coffee, socialize, and process what they’ve just learned. Building time to both be human and think into the process is what makes it work.

I’ve found that it carries over to creative work as well. I get to stretch my legs and think over what I just wrote, and what comes next. A regular period of rest keeps me from blowing through my spoons too quickly. It makes it easier to write all day, because I’m not shackled to the keyboard.

As to the inevitable comments along the lines of “it must be nice to take a break every hour”, well, yeah, it is. My productivity increases, which is what numerous Finnish studies about this type of workflow have shown. It’s not about time served. Let go of the corporate wage-slave mentality. It’s about the work that gets done. It’s not like someone is paying me to “do nothing”. I work 10 hours a day. When you factor out the breaks that’s 7.5 hours working, the same as if I’d take two 15-minute breaks in an 8-hour day. I also work 6 days a week. I deserve breaks.


The Merry Writer is a writer’s game on Twitter run by Ari Meghlen (@arimeghlen) and Rachel Poli (@RPoli3). Each day there’s a new question, and each month there’s a new theme. In these posts I expand upon the answers that I’ve posted on my Twitter.

2 replies on “Factor in Eating Breaks When Writing”

Do you set timers for all these, or is it more of a play it by ear situation? I imagine Lunch has a fixed schedule, but the 45-15-45-etc might take a back seat if you’ve got a cresting wave of creativity you’re riding.

I have alarms set every hour on the hour. My phone is over at the coffee season, so I have to get up to turn them off. If I’m into something I might sit back down to finish a thought, but generally I can use the break to process and pick up where I left off.

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