Want to be happier? Want to be a more productive and creative writer?
Then you must have free time alone, free time to reconnect with who you are and what you really want in life, free time to just release and relax and recharge.
When you do return to your normal activities, you’ll be fresh and ready to go, you’ll have your priorities straight, and you’ll jump to get the important things done quickly and well.
This Time Alone is Just for You
You choose what you want to do — walk, read, sleep, listen to music, play music, exercise — whatever makes you happiest.
It’s crucial that you alone determine what you do, and that you be alone when you do it. You need time away from your responsibilities and from the desires and needs of others.
Note that you shouldn’t be doing any work on any freelance writing projects or other work obligations; this is time away from such activities.
3 Benefits of Free Time Alone for Writers
1. You Relax Your Mind
The hustle and bustle of your freelance writing career and your life overloads your brain. Taking a break from it all lets your mind reach a calmer state that rejuvenates you and will make you more productive when you do resume your regular activities.
2. You Relax Your Body
Tension accumulates in your muscles and nerves when you’re dealing with life’s obligations. Spending time alone allows you to let that go. You’ll return to your writing and other tasks with more energy and enthusiasm.
3. You Recharge Your Creativity
Relaxing your mind and body allows your creativity to flow. Your best writing ideas can come during your alone time.
Have a pen and paper or a recording device so you can capture them immediately: you likely won’t be able to relax completely if your mind has to hold one or more ideas until you get back to your office. I always have my digital voice recorder in my pocket to capture ideas. But don’t feel like you have to come up with ideas; just be ready for them if they do come.
Scheduling Free Time Alone
Take Time Every Day
Even if it’s just 15 minutes, make sure you fit it in.
Take Time Every Week
Give yourself 3 or 4 hours, even a whole day, on a weekly basis.
Take Time Every Year
You need at least a week a year by yourself. Do whatever you like. I typically take one or two hiking/camping trips in the mountains every summer near my Ashland, Oregon home. I also take at least one road trip; for example, this March I spent two and a half weeks hiking in southern Utah. I think of it as a personal retreat.
Schedule your time in advance and make sure all the important people affected by your absence know you’ll be gone. Keep communication with the outside world to an absolute minimum; if you can, stay away from the Internet and keep your cell phone off.
Get Support for Free Time Alone
If you live with others, you’ll likely need to negotiate your breaks. Discuss why it’s important to you, and also why it’s important for everyone in the household to do the same. Help everyone to get free time alone by having all agree to take over tasks and responsibilities for others as needed. Most people soon realize that they love their free time alone and will be more than willing to cooperate to make it happen.
Do you get enough free time alone? If not, why not, and what can you do to change that? What do you most like to do with your free time alone?