The Importance of Not Writing

On a couple of Saturday night’s a month, my husband and I pop one of our favorite movies into the DVD player and sit on the living room couch in the pitch dark like patrons do in movie theaters. Recently we watched the 1944 psychological thriller “Gaslight,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.

In the story, an innocent woman (Bergman) marries a charming man (Boyer) who tries to drive her insane.

It is a superbly, creepy thriller in which the tension slowly ratchets up as the story proceeds. Revelations are made a little at a time. It’s important to watch closely so as not to miss subtle cues, intonations, facial expressions, and bits of dialogue. Bergman and Boyer played their parts to the hilt. I couldn’t help grabbing onto my husband during some of the more spine-tingling scenes and moments when the over-the-top orchestral mood music hammered away. It’s spooky, beautifully filmed in gloomy black and white.

It was not only “date night” in the comfort of our own home, but an opportunity for me to take a break from my writing, to lose myself in the story. It’s easy enough to find advice on how to keep a writing schedule. Check out google or your favorite bookstore or library and you’ll find plenty of suggestions. But look for information on the importance of not writing and you’ll find very little.

Taking breaks is important for many of us writers. Every writer has to discover what works for them. Watching movies that are captivating, well-written with tight plots gives me a clean break from my writing, allowing my ideas and plot turns time to percolate without me forcing them. It’s also an opportunity to discover how other stories are put together. I get ideas. The inspiration stays with me when I return to the manuscript.

Author: Lisa Braxton

Lisa Braxton is an Emmy-nominated former television journalist, an essayist, short story writer, and novelist. Her debut novel, The Talking Drum, is forthcoming from Inanna Publications in spring 2020. She is a fellow of the Kimbilio Fiction Writers Program and a book reviewer for 2040 Review. Her stories and essays have appeared in literary magazines and journals. She received Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest magazine’s 84th and 86th annual writing contests in the inspirational essay category. Her website: