Monday, 3 October 2016

How to take a (guilt free) break from writing

Hard work and self-discipline are the keys to success. Apparently. So, where do holidays fit into one's writing-publishing journey?

Can a break be good for one's writing?
Stephen King tells us to write every day. Heinlein tells us to finish what we write. Writing podcasts  and blogs everywhere tell us to set goals and meet our deadlines. Well, I've been working toward all of that, but two weeks ago, I let everything slide and found myself on an unplanned break.

It was brought on by the fact that the husband was on a two-week break (school holidays–he's in education) and while I had the best intentions of keeping my strict Mon-Fri work hours, well, the first Monday when hubby was sleeping in, my so-called self-discipline jumped out the bedroom window and ran away like a crazy lady. I had no desire to chase it down. I found myself on holidays. No writing. No blogging. Not much tweeting. Nothing but pottering around the house and property, duck watching and having cocktails at five.

The first ducklings for Spring 
At first, I felt guilty and couldn't help remonstrating myself. Your deadline won't be met now. You'll lose your flow. How could you stop writing halfway through your novel? Do you even deserve a break? I saw Stephen King around every corner telling me to write everyday as he shook his head.

Negative self-talk can be extremely debilitating and once upon a time I didn't even realise I was doing it. But, this time, I saw it for what it was and told the whiney voice in my head to "Eff off!"

I ALLOWED myself to enjoy a break from writing. For two whole weeks! And, it had some unforeseen positive outcomes.

While watching the newly hatched ducklings, my mind wandered into the realms of my current WIP. A lot. I did a lot of dreaming and tinkering with a few issues I've had with the plot and even found some solutions.

Whilst pottering in the veggie patch, I also thought about the future and my writing goals. I've decided to give short story writing another go. It's been a long time since I've even attempted a short story and I'm keen to give it another try. I'm also going to attempt another novel series, eventually, and, while sipping on a cocktail, I thought of some ideas I can't wait to create.

In the end, I realised taking a break from writing is good for writers. It can give you space to think about your WIP and get re-enthused about it. When you're not so focused on looming deadlines, you can dream up other ideas for your writing journey. So next time school's out, and the hubby is at home on holidays, I'll be taking a break guilt-free. But right now it's time to get the butt back in the chair. The holidays are over and I've got a novel to finish.

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