I’ve mentioned a time or two that I’ve been writing for many, many years. I’ve churned out a bunch of garbage in those 20+ years, but everything I’ve put down onto paper has helped me grow as a writer. In the whirlybird that is my mind, I’ve managed to create worlds and characters one after the other. I’ve got a HUGE stockpile of work….some good, some I could rework that have potential, and some that really need to be tossed. By the way, in case you’re wondering, I never toss anything.
I’m not sure why I’ve pushed myself this hard for this long…most likely I did it without cognizant thought. I write because I love it and I’m called to do it. But very slowly, over the past few months, my calling has slowed. That urgent need to write has been tempered. And you know what, it’s absolutely okay.
Sounds dumb, I know. But we writers (or maybe it’s just me) need to give ourselves permission to stop. I quite literally had a conversation with myself…”why are you struggling through this manuscript? Why not let it rest for a few months and come back to it with fresh eyes?” This has happened to me before, but I’ve usually pushed through or come back to the project after only a brief pause.
I’m tired. If I’m not working on my manuscript, I’m writing blogs, scheduling posts, or one of the hundred other things we writers do. If that was my only job, I might be able to do it all. But it’s not, and I can’t, so I’ve officially given myself permission to press pause on my writing. For the long term, I don’t plan on picking it back up until next year. For the short term, I’m making myself step back from it for at least a few months. When the writing becomes stale, you know you need a break. And this old brain of mine….it needs a rest.
The funny thing about this is if I wasn’t such an obsessive writer, I might panic. But I have books set for release for the rest of this year, all of next, and into 2019. There is NO cause for panic. In truth, this break might help me concentrate more on the marketing aspect of my work.
Never fear friends, I’m not giving up or giving in, although I will admit to thinking about it a time or two. It’s easy to get discouraged in this business. It’s easy to feel the need to stop putting yourself out there. It’s easy to allow the self-doubt to fester and spread. It’s also very, very easy to take a break and start back up with fresh ideas and a clear mind.
We can all (writers and non-writers alike) benefit from taking a pause from what drives us. Like a restful nap on a Sunday afternoon, we can emerge rejuvenated and inspired. Breaks are good, for the mind and for the soul. And when life and all things adult suddenly feel overwhelming, it’s never a bad thing to stop what you’re doing and reevaluated things.
Chances are, my ‘pause’ will only last a short time. My characters are still whispering to me and just won’t shut up. But I’m not on any mission to tell their story, not now anyway. If this manuscript I’m working on sits until next year, so be it. I have nothing to feel guilty about. I’ve more than paid my dues.