Thursday, January 5, 2012

Needing a Break from Writing

On my blog, I push the whole write-everyday-no-matter-what thing. I’ve tried doing this, and I was able to (more or less) keep it up for several months. It felt amazing – like I was I professional.

Imagine my surprise when on December 17, I realized I needed a break.

When I say I realized it, I’m not saying it was a conscious decision. It was a physical reaction, something I felt deep in my gut. I’ve had days where I just don’t feel like writing and I work through it, but this is different.

It doesn’t make any sense. I’m still in love with the story. I didn’t hit any road blocks. I don’t think I’m fatigued. I’m not any busier that I was before. I certainly don't have writer's block. This knowledge that I needed to stop my rough draft for a while just emerged out of nowhere.

What should a writer do when she doesn’t feel like writing? I’m not sure, but I do know what not to do; don’t use pressure. Ironically I work well with deadlines, but I don’t respond well to force. I don’t think most of us do. 

Even if force did work, writing is supposed to be fun. It’s not like homework where I’m going to get an F and bring shame upon my family. This may sound cynical, but it’s not like it’s my job, either. I just treat it like one – I have a fake-it-‘til-I-make-it attitude.

This is what I’m going to do:

Figure out what caused it. I put some thought into it, and I think I’ve been going at this book so hard that it hasn’t had time to simmer. My guess is I just need some time to think.

Wait it out. I can’t imagine it taking much longer, but if I need time, that’s okay. If this goes on for too long... well, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Have you ever needed a break from writing? How did you get over it?


  1. I usually feel like this when I hit a serious writer's block. When this happens it really helps to get out of the house and keep the mind busy. Going to the movies is a good cure.

  2. Actually, I was a professional illustrator and when I burned out I turned to writing. That was ten years ago.

  3. i think you have the right idea, not to put pressure on or force yourself; do that and your other parts that need a break will stubbornly resist even more so until you end up tying yourself in knots. for myself, i write when i feel like it, cuz it isn't a high priority at this time. i know some folks dismiss me because i feel this way, but that's their loss, now isn't it? i know it is a priority for you, and so it must be frustrating when there is this part of you that screams, "stop, iNita break". sit with that part for awhile and give it the attention it needs, and see what is the concern here and it will most likely be resolved before you know it...or at least before it would have been resolved if you tried to force yourself to soldier on.

    by the way, regarding an earlier entry, you are aware that our local library is part of a consortium, right? there are literally billions of titles easily accessible as the consortium covers pretty much most of the northern and central parts of the state, including the MSU libraries and the MUW library as well as the public library systems and the school systems. with a little preplanning on your part {know that you want to read xyz title after you finish this one, and order it}, you can probably have access to anything you want faster than ordering the title from a bookstore when you don't know if you want to keep it. that just addresses our consortium; there is also ILL {interlibrary loan}, which may involve a fee {the consortium is free} for any book to be sent here to this library from any other library's location. i regularly get books from all over the united states thru ILL if they are not available thru the consortium {some times i pick odd titles that are not popular}. also, you can access the consortium's holdings online. there are also other book services, such as BookMooch {and i know that you know about goodreads, as you use them often}. with bookmooch, you can mooch a title with ease. if you want to find out more about any of this, we'll talk on saturday, i'm sure. happiest of the newest new years to you! grins, debra


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