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It's Okay To Slow Down

Do you get that crazy rushed feeling every time you think about writing?

Like there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything you want to, plus work on your book?

Something has to give, right?

Not necessarily. And this is something I've only just discovered. See, I was one of those people who had to be working on something, anything, every minute of the day. After five straight years of this, I was a mess.

Things reached critical mass with this last book I had due, on the tail end of a previous book that had been due. I had a deadline to meet and there was no pushing it back. I forced myself to meet insane word count goals, lost touch with the family and went nowhere but the library (after I got home from working the day job) for two months straight.

When I hit send on that book, I think I slept for a week. After I woke up though, there was this weird urge that I should find something else to dive into. But I didn't want to. I really didn't want to. In a 'stubborn two-year old digging in their heels' didn't want to kind of way.

It was that very moment when I realized, I didn't HAVE to. I could choose not to write a single word for weeks, or even months, and the world would not end. I didn't HAVE to write a thing until I got revision notes back from my editors. I didn't HAVE to spend all my down time in front of a Word doc.

Whoa.

Suddenly, without the pressure, I found that I actually wanted to write again! But I was really enjoying spending my evenings and the weekends with my family again, so
I decided that I would not write at home for this next book. That gave me exactly one hour a day, on my lunch hour at work, to write.

So far, its been amazing. I have a 1000 word goal each day and this WIP is up to almost 20k. I don't feel anxious or stressed or pressured. I get to enjoy making dinner with my husband, or playing Scrabble, or hanging out with my boys, and not feel guilty that I'm not writing.

It's an amazing feeling, and one that has taken me way to long to discover. I've always had a hard time with balance, but right now, in this moment, it feels like everything is working out.

At least until edits are due again. ;P

Do you give yourself breaks, or do you find it hard to slow down?
Lee Bross

Lee lives her happily ever after on the coast of Maine where she has written Tangled Webs, her historical YA debut, and fantasy YA books Fates and Chaos under pen name Lanie Bross. She also writes contemporary books for New Adult under the name L.E. Bross, debuting with Right Where You Are.

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9 comments:

  1. I find it very hard to slow down. I just handed in 2 HUGE school papers and finished the first draft of one novel (that I'm now revising) while simultaneously drafting a different novel of mine with my co-author.

    Once I get going, I just keep rolling until I hit a block. Then I switch to a new project.

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  2. I've had to force myself to slow down lately because I'm feeling completely burned out. Hopefully once I take a few days off, I can go back to this draft I'm working on and tackle it with all my attention. It was hard getting myself to stop, but I'm doing other writing-related things in the meantime, so I don't feel totally unproductive.

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  3. thanks for this post. I always feel so guilty not working on something. I have to remind myself it's OK to take a break.

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  4. I just wrote a blog post about this the other day, because YES YES YES! It's incredibly difficult to balance real life w/ my writerly goals, but I agree with you--sometimes you need to take a step back and *relax.* Here's my post if you're interested :)

    http://www.laurenspieller.com/2013/04/11/are-shutting-down-turning-off-the-keys-to-creativity/

    ReplyDelete
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  6. In the past, I've taken too many breaks, but lately I've been cracking down on writing. Though when I did finally take a break after finishing a 95,000 word novel, I did feel a little guilty. Thanks for the post! :)

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  7. I find it hard to take breaks, but I'm going to need one after I meet my current deadline. I've never had one so tight -- at such a stressful time of year for the dayjob -- on top of the release of another book. Yeah, I'm definitely going to do some TV vegging and a whole lot of reading just for fun.

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  8. I've got two novels to revise and a daughter's wedding coming up. It took a friend to say, "Barbara, relax and enjoy the wedding." Such simple advice but it spins happily in my head as I realize there truly is no rush.

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  9. I am not good at slowing down. Crazy runaway train brain refuses to stop whirring away as I finish polishing my MS and make up for years of absence on social media. Lately I dream of twitter...

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Item Reviewed: It's Okay To Slow Down Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lee Bross