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I Hate Writing About Writing When I Haven't Been Writing...

I'm afraid it's true. I haven't written. Not seriously, not for several weeks anyway. I've been doing other things - writing research papers for school and freaking out about finals and attending relatives' weddings and doing some intense thinking about my life and my faith and my family. I've forgiven a few people against whom I have held grudges, and I've allowed myself to get angry at a few people who needed to see my frustration.

But my WIP has been sadly dormant this month.

I regret this. I regret it because I really do love writing, and I really do love this story, and I really want to finish it... But I took a break anyway.

I think writers are some of the most driven people in the world. They will set daily goals for themselves; they will revise their novel a hundred times; they will save every penny for a conference that could teach them a new craft. This is such a wonderful trait, this ambition; it is what separates those "oh, I might write a book one day" people from the ones who actually DO IT.

But as a writer, we are also stressed. We are under enormous pressure - most of it self-generated - and after a while, it shows. Your friends haven't seen you in months. Your family hasn't heard from you. Even your writing group has lost track of you, because you've been so busy writing that you haven't been around to congratulate them on their own progress.

Dear writer, I admire your drivenness, but it is okay to take a break. In fact, PLEASE take a break, before you implode or have an aneurysm. There's a whole world out there, and sometimes the best thing to do in order to be a better writer is to go out and play in it.

So, writer - how are you going to play away from your computer today?
Kristin Briana Otts

Kristin is an aspiring YA author with an abiding love for her dog, ghost hunter tv shows, and rainy days.

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  1. Breaks are always good. That is how we come back stronger to our WIPs and I am sure you will too :-)
    I actually write more during the week than during the week-end...This week-end for example I went to the Christmas market (I live in Germany) and we have a family dinner tonight. Spending time with my parents who came to visit from France and with my husband´s family is wonderful and I am enjoying every minute of it...Hope everybody else is having a wonderful and relaxing week-end neing writing or taking a short break :-)

  2. For those of us who are as yet unpublished, the ability to take time out from our writing is something we should take advantage of. Once we get an agent, and then a publisher, it seems there is more pressure to finish edits, meet deadlines, and keep going with the WIP. Not that it won't be fun anymore, but right now, I imagine it's easier to take a break than it will be once we are responsible to others for our writing. So, enjoy the break!

  3. I'm doing NaNo at the mo so I can't really take lots of breaks. However I have allowed myself the one 'naughty' day where I'm completely lazy. Just sitting down and watching films after work and maybe ordering take-away so me and the bf don't have to worry about cooking. Bliss!

    But once NaNo finishes I'm taking a good break from writing and focusing on something different. Maybe concentrate on making the flat look all nice and Christmassy! :)

  4. Taking breaks is hard for me to do, and I'm a little frustrated this weekend because I actually have the TIME to write, but my WIP isn't really in a state to move forward right now. I'm still formulating and mulling over the idea. I want to write -- but I don't know where I'm going with this piece.

    Luckily, I have a family function today that will drag me away from the computer for awhile. Otherwise, I might just implode, as you said!

  5. I definitely pressure myself to be constantly working. The one trick that has worked for me has been to divide my day into writing/non-writing time. Since my brain sort of shuts off after six o'clock, I give myself permission to do fun things if I have any spare time. But that also means I feel really compelled to produce during the day!

  6. Thank you for saying this. I think we do put a lot of pressure on ourselves and if I don't write, the guilt just weighs me down. I agree that we need time away sometimes. And I think that in some ways, I'm still in the writing process, because the things I'm struggling with in the novel - plot wise - percolates and when I come back, I have a sense of direction.

    I, too, have stepped away from the computer for a couple of weeks. Partly out of avoiding the major revision work that needs to be done on my second half (and I'm at a loss of how to start and where I want to go with it) and partly because I spilled a cup of coffee on my computer and destroyed it. God works in mysterious ways. Maybe I just really needed a break.

    So thank you for telling me - one writer to another - that it's okay to take a break. And to remind me that we need to be well-rounded.

    I really needed to hear it.

  7. I read this pretty cool psychology paper about the most productive methods of writing. It actually says a lot of useful things like how actual non-writing time can be productive, depending on how you feel about your project, and why it's not really good for you to write all the time.

    Are you a binge writer?

  8. Yes, yes, for the love of cheese...a whole lot of yes.

  9. When I take a break from writing, I always make sure I have something exciting to read. Reading is like research for writing and it's a huge part of my process; looking at the way other writers put together their stories and build their characters. I try not to feel too guilty, because that never seem to get me anywhere.

  10. I'm taking a break right now. Ahhhh. *puts feet up and relaxes* But this break involves researching agents to query my first book (which is finished), reading other books that might inspire me, and working at my day job which pays my bills. Not much of a break, I guess. But my WIP (second book in the series) is sitting there stewing until I have the right mindset to go back to it.


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