It’s been a while, but I’m back! Although I usually try to post to this blog every week or two weeks, over a month has passed since my last entry, 5 Reasons to Pitch on Twitter. I decided to take a step back because it was my last month of undergrad, I had a dance showcase to organize and perform in, final papers to write, a college to graduate from, and friends and family to spend time with. In the end, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and East Asian Studies with a Minor in Japanese, and proceeded to spend four days traipsing through amusement parks.
A break from the writing world was needed, but difficult to take. In April, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo and set a goal of 20-25k words. I had ideas for my WIP and a desire to write it, but it fell too low on my priority list. Prioritizing school, RevPit, and DVpit meant allowing that goal to fall by the wayside.
That was a hard decision. After all, if I could meet the 50k goal in November, why couldn't I write half that amount in April? I felt disappointed in myself for knowing I would not meet what at first had seemed a reasonable goal. But at that point in time, it was not a reasonable goal. I could have forced myself to make it happen, but it would have meant stressing myself out, taking my energy and focus away from other areas of my life, and probably pushing out poor writing. In the end, it wasn't worth it. I might not have met my goal, but I did write part of it, and that is just as important.
I have certainly missed writing and engaging in the writing world. I've missed out on discussions and writing challenges, and I have a growing list of editing to-do's. But I also needed the mental break. I needed a chance to take a step back and think about where I want to go next with my writing. Where do I want to focus my efforts? Which story keeps popping into my head?
Taking a break as a writer can be very difficult. With so many sources telling you to write every day or as often as possible, it feels like failure to press the pause button. But it's not. Just as with every creative endeavor or profession, writers can burn out and deplete their wells of creativity. Pushing your way through writer's block is one thing, but forcing yourself to write when it will be more detrimental than not is not worth the mental strain.
If you need a break, take it. Let your mind wander. Let it rest. Engage more in the other areas of your life. All of this will help you in the end. Living life breeds inspiration, and that inspiration will fuel you once you have the energy to dive back into writing. When you're in it for the long haul, you have to learn to take breaks or you won't make it. The stories will still be there, the community will still be around, and you will feel more engaged with both after you've taken a step back.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for regular posts again!
I write YA fantasy and contemporary fiction. This blog is dedicated to thoughts and advice on writing and publishing, as well as various interests related to the world of Young Adult.