When You Begin Writing After a Long Break

 

by Lindsey Richardson

 

Let’s talk about the 7 month break I took from writing. That’s right… 7 months. It was my longest to date break from writing. And the break happened for several reasons. The kind of reasons where I just didn’t have the proper inspiration or passion to write.

And about 2 days ago that all changed. So naturally I found myself wondering why, and truth be told I might not know all of the reasons why. I think the biggest contributor was the fact that this month I finally started talking about my WIP to people. I told coworkers, friends, and my loved ones about this sequel I’m working on.

I started telling people bits and pieces and hearing feedback like “oh my gosh I would read that” or “that sounds amazing.” And that kind of feedback reminded me of why I started writing in the first place. Not for the money, the fame, or anything of that nature. I write because I love telling a story. I love telling a story and that story mattering to someone.

And this all brings me to my next point. I wanted to talk about something very real in regards to writing tonight. Something that I think is often overlooked and forgotten. Something that in the writing community you just cannot stress enough.

Breaks are okay. 100% okay.

I am actually a firm believer in taking breaks. You can’t write and write and write until your hands give out. And other days it feels like you can. But that’s the thing about writing, the thing we just don’t discuss that often. Writing is not constant. You can come up with a schedule and deadlines and plans, and still somewhere along the way there will be something unexpected that jumps out at you.

We as writers need breaks. We need minutes, hours, days, weeks, sometimes even months to reset our brains. We have to give the creativity time to refuel and reshape. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

And quite honestly sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes sh*t happens, and you know what? That’s okay too. No one expects you to write through the darkest hours of your life. Just like no one could expect you to be writing through the happiest hours of your life. Sometimes it’s more than just hours, and that’s when those breaks can extend into an unknown number. That’s when it gets scary because a week turns into a month turns into six months.

Time is precious for a writer, there’s no denying that.

In my seven month break I didn’t talk to a lot of people about writing. To be honest a lot of people probably didn’t know I was taking such a long break. They just assumed I would be writing. Because that’s what writers do, right? Maybe I was ashamed and disappointed, maybe I didn’t know what my next move would be. And in the long run, looking back on it, I wish I did not have such a long break. Those are seven months (of potential writing) I can’t get back.

But like most things breaks do eventually reach their end. You move past whatever is holding you back. Disappointment, writer’s block, depression, life, work, stress, lack of confidence… The list goes on endlessly. Whatever it is, I can guarantee you eventually it sees it way out the door. And then you’re back to writing as if nothing happened.

Breaks are unpredictable and scary. They can seem endless, hopeless, and (ironically) draining.

But at the end of the day breaks are a simple reminder that we are not robots. We are human. We will break, we will fall, we will have our doubts, and then one day we will stand back up again. It is a process. It is something I’ve learned we cannot run away from.

So if you’re experiencing a break in your writing, don’t fret. It will come to an end. You will write again. Take it from somebody who thought their muse and creative skills had abandoned them.

And to those of you, like me, making a recovery of a break. Cheers to those word count goals!

 

 

 

Guest post contributed by Lindsey Richardson. Lindsey is a fantasy author who lives in Maryland with her husband and three cats. By the age of eighteen, Old Line Publishing expressed their interest in Lindsey’s novel, Cursed With Power. Lindsey has been both traditionally published and self published.

Advertisements

29 thoughts on “When You Begin Writing After a Long Break”

  1. This is a timely read for me. I’m working on just now coming back from a 4 month break and felt a little guilty about taking the time off (for legitimate reasons, you know, life stuff). Settling back into things, I do feel revitalized about sitting in front of a computer screen and bringing on the words. I hope the same can be said for you.

    It’s good for writers to know they can take the breaks they need. It’s not a literary sin to take some time off. In most cases, its necessary. Good luck with your progress now you are getting back into the swing of things.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I, too, needed this. I’m trying to come back after a five year hiatus (burn-out/slight trauma issues dealing with my last contract). I just need to keep hearing, “You will get past it, you will get past it, you will get past it.” So I lap up every post/article about people successfully coming back from periods of not writing. Thanks!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I’ve been on a break whilst completing a professional qualification. I just knew juggling it all would cause me stress but I finished yesterday and plan to get back into it. I hope the bug captures me like it used too x

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I loved this post I recently took a month or two month break from writing to focus on finals and I thought for sure as soon as summer hit I would be a writing machine but I wasn’t and it kind of made me sad and frustrated at times that I lost my edge but then I tried out a new technique and realized that I was just putting too much pressure on myself. I’ve started to write again not a lot but a little but it’s making me feel better. Thank you for making me feel better about taking breaks.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I enjoyed reading this because you are so open. And also I know a lot about breaks and have had to really embrace the art of pauses or fasting I call it.

    I feel as if they are more than “ok” – they are crucial for human psyche.

    and with yoga I see the huge benefits – a break a few times a year brings me back with fervor and maybe even my body heals. Once I took a month off and came back with better form.
    I also fast from blogging and it is so difficult at first and as you noted the fear factor – and the “funk” that unfolds – well it is not easy – but truly has good fruits!!

    and I love how you worded this:

    “Breaks are unpredictable and scary. They can seem endless, hopeless, and (ironically) draining.

    But at the end of the day breaks are a simple reminder that we are not robots. We are human.”

    TRUE THAT
    and if possible – we should not wait until we need a break – but that is another post, eh?

    Like

  6. Breaks are helpful but I have this fear that if the break lasts too long, I’ll never get back into writing. Then again, I fell into a rut/hiatus for 4-5 years with only occasional writing around NaNoWriMo time. Balance helps — not writing to the point of a burnout.
    Glad to hear you came out of your 7 month break with a renewed passion to write. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I took a break for two and a half years before I wrote the first draft of The Hartnetts and I have to say that ever since I started it I believe that in the past five years my writing has actually improved although others may disagree on that. I e-published it last year.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lindsey, I think I needed to read your post here. I was in a slump and forcing myself to work on my WiP every day even though I knew I wasn’t getting much done with it. Then, I came across some free writing courses online. It was then that I realized I was lacking confidence. Boy, was I lacking! [I also needed a brush-up on skills.] I put my WiP away and started going to the classes. They’re run by an accredited university so I’m feeling comfortable with the advice I’m soaking in. I am, in this way, taking a break from writing. I’ve been feeling a little guilty about this intermission despite the fact I’m gaining sharped skills and faith in myself. Knowing how you feel about breaks has made me realize I’m doing the best thing for myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Loved this post. I sometimes I find I create my best pieces when I am feeling down but I don’t want to feel down (and luckily rarely do) but taking a break never hurt anyone, you are so right there. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Life definitely gets in the way. I’ve had breaks of years because I was discouraged about feedback that I got from an editor years ago and just stopped writing for a while. Then, the advent of self-publishing really took hold and I had my first book published, which really wasn’t my first manuscript (I know, it sounds confusing).

    Then I wanted to write while I was laid up after ankle surgery in 2013 but that didn’t work out. I couldn’t remember the password to unlock my computer but couldn’t drive myself to the computer repair shop to have it unlocked or get anyone to take me there.

    This latest time, I was in the midst of working on editing my WIP last month and my laptop went belly up. I just got a refurbished laptop yesterday after a few weeks. So I stopped letting it bother me. What the hell…that’s life.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I definitely needed to read this. I have been on a break for what feels like years – closer to 3. For the longest time I thought my break was a sign of failure so knowing that this isn’t a stand alone experience is more than comforting. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I often have to remind myself that no one is expecting me to do or be any more than I am, that my anxiety is nothing more than self-imposed and that everything will be ok — great, even — if I’m not constantly being productive, writing nonstop. Much appreciated post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such an important post. I also took 6 months off of writing and it was scary but when I finally picked my WIP back up it was because I had finally found he answers I was looking for and I think it was better because of the break

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.