You may ask, why did I not allow myself breaks and work myself to irritability and exhaustion? The most encompassing answer I can give for that is fear.
- Fear told me that if I had any breaks, I might lose my flow of ideas and the writing would suffer.
- Fear told me that if I took a step away from my project and then came back, I would see what was wrong with it and might decide it wasn't good enough and throw it away. If I realized that it was flawed, I might not want to continue working on it, as opposed to if I had just written it all in one sitting.
To solve this problem, I downloaded a free software called Workrave (click this link to download it) that prompts the user to take a break every so often. The default settings gave me a 30 second pause every 3 minutes. I've adjusted to a 30 second pause every 10 minutes.
According to the FAQ, if you're recovering from RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury), you will probably need more frequent pauses, such as every 2.5 to 3 minutes for about 25 seconds. On the other hand, if you don't have problems using the computer, a 10 second pause every 10 minutes might be sufficient for you. There is also a longer break. I have mine set for every 45 minutes.
So far this software has been working out great. It can be difficult to remember to take a break on our own, but these popups make it easy to rest.