[Thanks for reading. Here’s a fun post filled with gifs and thoughts on taking a break.]
The writing journey is a winding trail of moments and emotions, both positive and negative. When the path encounters more moments of frustration and overwhelming emotion, it’s time to take a pause.
I’ve been known to submerge myself and ignore the real world during my writing journey. I hide for hours, forgetting to eat a meal and/or skipping a shower. [Sorry not sorry if that’s TMI.]
At some unknown point, a trigger sneaks in and disrupts my unhealthy cycle. These triggers can include anything from a writing block, a disheartening critique, emotions on social media, crickets in queries, a form rejection, or someone calling you out on your lengthy isolation. Think of these triggers not as hurtful punishments, but as a sign of tough love to force you to become a better writer. The triggers encourage you to take that pause.
My pauses occur sporadically, mostly depending upon what’s going on inside my mind, my heart, and my life. Either way, a pause is a healthy and positive opportunity to step away and recharge.
The journey of writing and publishing can be rough and lonely. It has it’s ups and downs, somedays it will feel like there are more downs than ups. Other days, it will feel like you’re on an island.
Remain aware of the triggers before they wreck you. Console yourself with some trustworthy writer friends who will lift you up. Thank you to who have been there for me. I am here for you when you need it.
When you run into a wall, maybe it’s time for a break.
Personally, I’ve found it to be a challenge to take a pause. Why? Obviously, I don’t want to miss out on anything. I usually end up taking short one or two day breaks, then dive right back in.
Writing is a job and a passion. I don’t care what anyone tells you. Writing and publishing a story takes commitment, teamwork, and hard work, complete with blood, sweat, and tears. But the good news is you’re not alone. This journey involves writer pals, critique partners, mentors, mentees, agents, editors, publishers, interns, furry friends, and family.
We spend countless hours in our craft. We pour over our words and scrutinize every detail, every plot point, every crutch word, every character name, every comma, every dialogue tag, every everything!
At the same time, when you’re a writer, you’re enrolled in never-ending continuing education courses – whether you know it or not. Take a pause to think about all you have learned in your writing journey so far.
Wow! Right? So, where have you learned it from?
You’re constantly absorbing information to improve yourself. Here’s a short list of that information: writing, world building, character profiles, story plotting, editing, critiquing, querying, pitching in various ways, deep edits, professionalism, social media tools, networking, engagement, and the list goes on and on.
You’ve probably taken a lot of these ‘courses’ in all different formats from social media threads and blog posts to resource books and in-person workshops. Let’s not forget book festivals, signings, conventions, vloggers, online research tools, webinars, and writers’ groups. Yes, folks. No matter where you are in the journey of writing, we learn FROM EACH OTHER!
You’ve absorbed quite a lot and there’s more to come. Are you tired? Stressed? Worried? Hungry? Stinky? Frustrated? Panicked?
No matter where you are in your writing journey, you deserve a pause.
If you’re feeling the emotions, you must take a pause.
You earned yourself time to read a book from your massive TBR pile, sip some beverage of choice, and/or write a review for a fellow author. Maybe you’ve been burning to do some blog posts about what you’ve learned in your journey. It’s time to give back. You may even wish to binge something on tv. Do it. Have you been outside? Considered going to a community event or taking a stroll. Maybe the local library, indie bookstore, or a quaint coffee shop?
Think of something new and different. Seek inspiration, encouragement, and comfort. Make it something that will give you meaningful pause.
For me, I read something new, spend time with my family, disappear into thrift stores, or paint on old windows.
After your pause, come back refreshed and ready to conquer your next thing!
What do you do? How long are your pauses? Add a comment below. I’d love to hear about it.