Maybe You Should Stop Writing

9:11 AM


I'm fond of that title. It makes this post sound really harsh, when in fact it's nothing of the kind. I'm giving myself cake for that.



Moving on to the actual point of the post. Today's the first day in a week that I've actually sat down and done some writing in something other than a short story. (Which I'm proud of and you can find here and on Wattpad, by the way.) This isn't normal for me. If I stop writing for a few days, I get out of practice, and it's super hard to get back into it, which isn't pleasant for anyone involved. There's a lot of facepalming involved. But over this past week/weekend, I decided that I needed to stop writing. 

I needed a break. 

Between a first draft in one story and editing in another story and being 'behind' and dealing with short stories and procrastinating the whole way through, I got overwhelmed. I drowned in negativity. I wasn't happy with writing or the words that did make it onto the page, and it was a whole lot of frustration and tears that I didn't want, because that's not why I write. 


I wouldn't want to stop writing for a few days every time I run into some frustration - I'd never get anything done that way - but in this case, it gave my overheated brain some time to cool down and plot, and by forcing myself to break, by the time the week or so was up I was dying to get to the documents again. Win. 

I think sometimes we get so caught up in our stories and feeling like we have to push through or worrying about being behind or doing everything wrong that we're not enjoying ourselves writing anymore. We don't do it all for the enjoyment, but if writing becomes a chore that you dread doing because everything sucks and what will you ever do, maybe you need a break, like I did. 

I just found this gif and I'm way too amused by it.

So there's your encouragement for the day! Step away from the Word doc/notebook/whatever. Go do something fun. Give yourself an hour or a day or two or three off. Get to enjoy writing again. It's not the end of the world if you take a break - we all need breaks, don't we?

stop animated GIF


What about you? What do you do when the writing gets rough? Do you ever take breaks and step away from your current project? Do you think we should always push through and keep going no matter what? Comment away. 

18 comments

  1. That's definitely true -- it's important to take a break once in a while, especially between edit rounds or mss. I like to work on one project at a time, so if I'm fed up with this sci-fi adult dystopian, I can try to work on a magical realism YA humor for a change. Or blog a little. Mixing it up really helps for me!

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    1. That's a good idea, too! I'm a one-track person so I don't often have two different projects to work on (unless I'm editing one and writing the other, but no one wants to take a break from writing to edit :P) but blogging is a good escape, too.

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  2. I love to take breaks in my writing when I really need it because otherwise the words that I put down on the page get to be stilted and forced, which makes me even more frustrated later. My favorite way to relax is to read a good book because it's fun, but it also inspires me to write.

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    1. Right? Books and music are my two things that get me pumped up for it again.

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  3. Oh, I definitely find that I lose all my writing ability if I stop for a few days. (I'm currently not writing anything. can you tell that I'm really struggling to string sentence together? 'Cause I am).
    Beth x
    www.thequietpeople.com

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    1. Right? Like WHAT ARE WORDS. HOW DO SENTENCES WORK. *flails*

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  4. You are so right. I found that this is true of anything really. It happens in my writing. But it happens with me most in guitar or clogging. I go through phase when I focus most on either writing, guitar, or clogging. I end up draining myself in that area and so I switch to something else for awhile. But I'm still getting the handle on juggling all three. And sometimes I need an overall creative break. To just stop doing things and relax, take a day or two to read and watch movies and listen to music, such stuff.

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    1. Yeah, it could totally be applied to anything! Breaks are good in lots of areas - a chance to step back and get your breath can mean you come back way better, in my experience.

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  5. Good point but your gif use really is too great to handle.

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  6. It is definitely important to take breaks in writing. When I force myself to write a lot, I get a great deal done, and then completely burn out my brain. Taking periodic breaks helps my mind get back into the writing mood, and prevents me from filling pages with monotone sentences that go in circles.

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    1. Ah, yeah...sometimes your brain just empties and THERE ARE NO WORDS LEFT. xD

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  7. A lot of times, I take breaks between drafts and parts. Actually, I tried to go straight from part two of Murder on the Red Line to part three within a week, and I think I do actually need to take a break and work on something else.

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    1. Ah, yeah, breaks between drafts are smart too! It's always super helpful to come back to things with fresh eyes.

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  8. I had my exams and NaNoWriMo all within a month of each other, so I took I break. I hate it when it gets to the point where I am forcing myself to write. But I always come back, because its what I love to do.

    I guess I operate on the whole 'If you love something so much let it go. If it comes back it was meant to be; if it doesn't it never was' when it comes to my writing :)

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    1. YES! With some things, (I do karate and such) if I take a break I'll be less and less likely to go back to it, but with writing, I feel a little more comfortable because I know it'll be hard but I'll come back to it anyway. Thanks for reading!

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  9. Ah, yes... I don't even have to write that long before I need a break. I write in chunky scenes, and then I get overwhelmed and start criticing everything in that one little scene even though it's just a rough draft. When that happens, I need to take a step away. So, yes, I relate.

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  10. THIS. I hit a hard spot in my writing a couple of months ago, and I was trying so hard to push through because I didn't want to get behind. But finally, enough people told me that I should probably take a break, and I took a weekend off. Made all the difference for me and my manuscript. It's still rough, but I officially love it again.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.