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Writing Hiatus - It's Okay to Take a Break -- by Beth Aman

I have a confession to make: I really haven’t written anything in the past month.  I’ve sent out a handful of query letters and received a few rejections so far, but I haven’t worked on any creative writing.  And you know what?  That’s okay.

A lot of new writers are told they need to write every day.  Like if they miss a single day of writing, they forever forfeit their chances of being successful.  And that’s just not true.

Yes, if you want to be a writer, you have to write.  But no, you don’t have to write 365 days of the year!  It’s okay to take a break.  To focus on other things.  To read.

Because writing is hard.

writing is hard

Often times, when I’m on writing hiatus, I read extensively.  I need that freedom, that refreshing journey.  And that’s okay too!

harry on buckbeak

Reading is valid and important part of the writing process!  I often feel like it takes reading fifty good books in order to write a single book, kinda like how it takes forty gallons of sap from maple trees to make a single gallon of syrup.

Sometimes my brain just needs a break, a reminder that of oh yes, this is how a good story is told.  This is what a plot twist feels like.  This is how characters are written well.

Or sometimes the opposite.  Sometimes it’s this love story feels shallow.  I don’t want my love story to feel like this.  I want my characters to be deeply connected, not lovey-dovey.

So, my encouragement to all of you out there who don’t feel like you’ve had a productive week – or month – or year:  It’s okay.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Read deeply.  Read books that excite you.  Read books that make you want to write.  Read books that inspire you.  And don’t stress if you miss a day or a month of writing.

But then once you’re rested, jump back into it.  That’s what I’m doing.  I'm getting back into writing, and it's wonderful.

So here’s to resting, and good books, and starting up again.  You can do it!

happy Matt Smith

Posted by Beth Aman 26 Jun 2016 at 00:04
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Responses to this blog

Azarial 26 Jun 2016 at 15:16  
This is so true. Any other job if you ask someone how much they work and they say, "I go to work every day," and you know they mean 5 days a week not including holidays and weekends. But, writers hear this and take it literally. Maybe, it's because starting up again, or losing the flow impacts us more than other professions. Regardless, if you never take a break you risk burning out, and also risk losing the love of writing. So by all means, write five days a week. Or four, or whatever you can until you have a draft. But then, like every other profession out there, take a break! But, set a time limit for your break. And then get back at it. Great post Beth. (and love the pictures )
Rellrod 26 Jun 2016 at 17:50  
Good point about reading. The primary way I've learned anything about writing is from reading — voraciously, broadly, constantly. And, as you say, that can turn up either positive or negative examples. From 'Ooo, I want to write something like that!' to '#$%^&, I could write something better than this' — from 'wow, this is cool, look what the author did here' to 'why is this so bad, and how can I avoid doing that too?'

Lultwriter 26 Jun 2016 at 22:09  
Not to forget that for most of us writing isn't our only job. With working full time and going to school full time I'm already close enough to burning out that there is no way I'm going to write every day. Until I finish with school I am taking a break unless I'm feeling extra inspired one day.
Beginner 19 Oct 2016 at 16:31  
Yes, I do think writing is hard. But not the process of writing but starting to write. I find it hard to get my self in front of the computer, but once I do I'm impossible to stop.

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