Life Cycle of a Writer – Taking A Break From Writing

Sue Fortin

It doesn’t seem like five minutes since I was here blogging about receiving my edits for The Half Truth (click HERE to view). Since then my third Harper Impulse novel has flown the nest and is fending for itself out in the big wide world. I will be honest in saying that afterwards I felt quite drained by the whole process. Despite having plenty of writing to get on with, I didn’t feel emotionally or physcially able to do any. At the back of my mind the writing advice of ‘write something every day’ kept plaguing me but try as I might, I couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm.  I was also very much aware my family were well in credit for some of my time, having graciously and lovingly, supported me when I was under deadline pressure.

The Owl & The Pussy Cat
The Owl & The Pussy Cat

So, ignoring the ‘write every day’ advice, I decided I would do anything and everything but that. I must admit I’ve had an excellent six week writing break, which took into account Easter holidays too. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’ve spent huge amounts of time with my children, my family, celebrating three of our birthdays, catching up with friends, visiting places, pottering around the house, sewing, reading, making cakes (and eating them!); it’s been great.

To begin with I didn’t even feel the urge to do any writing in any shape or form, but gradually over the weeks, my mind has turned to my WIP and I’ve even started toying with ideas for the book after that. However, I’m holding out until next week before I pick up with my WIP. It’s about 71k words in and going well. First though, I’ll probably spend some time plotting out the book after that one before I forget.

I have to say, taking a writing break, as in no writing whatsoever, has been the best thing I’ve done for a long time. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s certainly worked for me. Now I’m feeling revived and enthusiastic and I’m very much looking forward to getting back behind the keyboard.



27 thoughts on “Life Cycle of a Writer – Taking A Break From Writing

    • Thanks, June. I’ve had a pretty intensive 18 months so really needed a breather.

  1. Plus all that goes with it. It’s a good idea to recharge the batteries, Sue. I also find it rests the old overloaded brain (or is that just mine?). I usually go back to my writing with renewed enthusiasm after a break. Good luck with your WIP. At 71K words, it sounds as it’s well on they way and simply needs licking into shape. Can’t wait to see it out there! 🙂 xx

    • Exactly, Sheryl. Last year was a very difficult year in that both my parents and my daughter were in hospital and my MIL passed away too. It’s all been full on, so I needed the break.
      As for WIP, I think it needs some tlc, it’s a bit all over the place at the moment. 🙂

  2. I agree with you, Sue, it’s how I feel after a book is finished too. It’s actually taken me a bit too long to get back into the next one, but I just wasn’t ready to deal with the madness of having other people in my head 24hrs a day for seven months. I think next time I’ll try to follow your example and take a set amount of time to recover rather than taking so long I’ve been paralysed by guilt and fear!! Congratulations on your success and best wishes for more to come.

    • Hi Chris, I think giving myself a set amount of time has helped keep everything in focus. I’ve relieved some of the guilt I felt for not spending enough time with my husband and children, without having the guilt for not writing. It’s something I will definitely do again.
      I’m sure once you settle back down that fear and guilt will vanish.
      Thank you for your kind wishes – you too!

  3. I do empathise, Sue. I have taken an extended break from my WIP, too, having felt I couldn’t face another minute of it. I’ll pick it up all in good time – but I do think you need to want to write, rather than feel you ought to!

    • Hi Kathy
      My WIP is all over the place and although I haven’t been writing, I have been thinking about it and I feel I have more of a plan now as to what to do with it.
      Definitely agree about the need rather than the obligation to write.
      Thanks for stopping by.

    • I was wondering the other day what I would think about instead if I wasn’t thinking about writing!

    • I’ve been like that in the past, but I can honestly say, not this time.
      Having said that, I am now at the looking forward to it stage.

  4. It works for me, Sue, although my breaks are often imposed by an outside force, usually connected to my health or the family’s health. I enjoyed the Easter holidays this year as I had no deadlines. I took full advantage of it, too 😀 Having said that, my brain was constructing the next set of characters … xx

    • I know, I don’t think our brains ever really switch off from the writing! Just think of all those words you’ll have bursting to get out when you’re able to attack the keyboard again. 😀

  5. How refreshing to hear that, Sue. Every now and again I’ll take a week off and feel hugely better for it. It’s a huge amount of pressure to feel we should be writing something every day – I certainly don’t. I imagine that a lot of writers will be breathing a sigh of relief to know that having a break didn’t bring down a plague on your house!

    • Lol Wendy, yes my house appears to have voided the seven plagues or Egypt. So much so, I think I’ll take more breaks in the future.

    • Thanks, Elle – as I said, it’s definitely done me the world of good. 🙂 xx

  6. The guilt! It seems whatever we do as writers/parents/members of the human race, there is always a small voice telling us we ought to be doing something else – or is it just me with the voices in my head? Maybe I should keep that one to myself 😉 Thanks, Sue, for this thoughtful post. You express thoughts I think many other writers share. x

    • Oh that flippin guilt thing – it’s always lurking somewhere, isn’t it? By the way, don’t worry about the voice – they are normal – well, that’s what the voices tell me anyway!
      Sue x

  7. Reblogged this on Sue Fortin, Writer and commented:
    It’s been a particularly demanding year, I moved house, had one book published, completed and submitted another, all this alongside both my parents and my daughter being admitted to hospital (emergencies) at different times and, very sadly, my lovely mother-in-law passed away. So, with some relief, I took a break from writing to allow life to settle. I blogged about it over at The Romaniacs for my turn on Life Cycle of a Writer …

  8. I think the writer every day thing is good for beginning writers. But once you are producing and selling books. The times away from writing is as important as the writing you actually do. Take care of yourself.

  9. I’ve taken breaks from writing before, to catch up with family and friends after have been working towards a deadline. Definitely a good idea, and I find that when I’m not pressuring myself to write or feeling guilty about not doing enough of it, suddenly loads of ideas come from nowhere and I return to writing with renewed enthusiasm. Best of luck with The Half Truth, and with your next project, Sue!

    • Hi Anita, I agree about the no pressure bit and loads of ideas popping up. It’s nice to know that it is actually quite normal to want and/or need a break at times.

      Thank you for your support – much appreciated.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s