Authors: I highly recommend taking at least a week off after finishing the first draft of your book. Get as far away from it as you can, and read something completely different.
This tactic works! After finishing the first draft of my forthcoming novel The Wine Steward’s Lover, I spent the past week reading the entire Hunger Games trilogy. It was so refreshing for my brain to transport itself into a completely different—albeit, somewhat depressing—universe, learning about the adventures of Katniss Everdeen and the oppressed citizens of the dystopian Panem. But then I returned to my first draft on Saturday night at a coffee shop, started reading word for word, and marked up every line as emergent ideas began popping left and right. Ideas for story enhancement, foreshadowing, connecting the dots, etc. Draft two is on its way!
There’s something about the power of pacing yourself, and finding a healthy tension between engagement and disengagement. This applies not just to writing books, but any endeavor that requires intense focus and investment: Your job. Your relationships. Athletic pursuits, such as running a marathon.
The brain, heart and body all need periods of recovery and healthy “distraction,” so that optimum performance is possible once you’re back in the “game.” What’s your favorite distraction that doesn’t hinder your productivity but actually undergirds it?