What if I stop writing for a while? What if taking this hiatus is not because I have no choice but precisely because I do?
About a month ago, I’d reached writing and creativity exhaustion, so much so that even when I’d forced myself to write at least a few sentences or a paragraph, nothing but stale, dry, lifeless words settled on the page.
You see, at this time, I’d finished my current revisions and my editor had done her thing in supplying me with superb proofreading, editing, and suggestions for my characters and plot for my novel, Passage of Promise.
But at the same time, I’d entered my subsequent university course in fascinating American Art. It was one of the required general education exploration courses available for me to choose. My courses are eight weeks long. By mid term, the college load was like swimming in an ever deepening pool, and the massive reading assignments and associated linked reading material were pulling me under.
Overwhelmed by keeping up with my novel’s plot additions, blog posts, essays, and colossal pages to peruse and jot down notes, it was time for me to slide one of these on the shelf.
Permanently? you ask. I sure hope not.
When you struggle with general anxiety and menopausal symptoms that trigger it (along with blood sugar issues), your brain can only take in so many mental activities at a time. I’d reached my limit.
When this happened, I closed up my manuscript on Word, and dread hit me as I remembered the eighteen-year hiatus from writing that was broken in September 2014…not so long ago. Was I going to end up disconnected from my writing another eighteen years?
This concern prompted me to look up information on authors/writers taking breaks. I found a couple of articles that gave me a great sense of relief.
What I learned is breaks are not only acceptable, but necessary to regenerate your creative juices and thought processes. And we writers make the choice on how long that break will be. It could be a day, a week, a month, or months.
I know this is alarming and sounds close to anathema considering how often we hear and read in the writing world the mantra stressing writing at least something daily.
But please keep reading.
Via a Writer’s Edit article, it says, “If you are at the point where you are forcing a story, take this as a sign to take a break from it.” This gave me a chance to exhale.
The author of that article also stressed not losing the joy of writing. Well, I’d forgotten the joy of writing. It had become the equivalent of cramming for final exams since it was juxtaposed with my college course load.
However, another reassuring perspective came from The Writing Cooperative’s author, Ryan J. Pelton’s article on this subject, stating, “You are not weak, uncommitted, and not a true writer if you take breaks. You will not forget how to write.” I could sit back calmly with this tidbit.
These breaks can be used for relaxing and cleaning out your brain, for continued reading for pleasure, and an upcoming chance for new, fresh characters and storylines to surface that can be noted for later.
My plan at this time is to pick up on my novel and other writing projects after I graduate from my university at the end of October. Then I will be free to pursue my writing without college assignment pressures. This is my tentative schedule, and each of us makes our own.
So, if you’re feeling burnt out, or you have nothing left, take a much needed break that is as long as you choose, and look forward to sparkling, vivid tales in the very near future.
Writer’s Edit. “Why Taking Writing Breaks Is Important.” writersedit.com. https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/taking-writing-breaks-important/
Pelton, Ryan J. “Put Down the Pen and Step Away (rest for writers).” The Writing Cooperative. https://writingcooperative.com/put-down-the-pen-and-step-away-rest-for-writers-44a98971db4b