Writing Hiatus – It’s Okay to Take a Break

I have a confession to make: I really haven’t written anything in the past month.  I’ve sent out a handful of query letters and received a few rejections so far, but I haven’t worked on any creative writing.  And you know what?  That’s okay.

A lot of new writers are told they need to write every day.  Like if they miss a single day of writing, they forever forfeit their chances of being successful.  And that’s just not true.

Yes, if you want to be a writer, you have to write.  But no, you don’t have to write 365 days of the year!  It’s okay to take a break.  To focus on other things.  To read.

Because writing is hard.

writing is hard

Often times, when I’m on writing hiatus, I read extensively.  I need that freedom, that refreshing journey.  And that’s okay too!

harry on buckbeak

Reading is valid and important part of the writing process!  I often feel like it takes reading fifty good books in order to write a single book, kinda like how it takes forty gallons of sap from maple trees to make a single gallon of syrup.

Sometimes my brain just needs a break, a reminder that of oh yes, this is how a good story is told.  This is what a plot twist feels like.  This is how characters are written well.

Or sometimes the opposite.  Sometimes it’s this love story feels shallow.  I don’t want my love story to feel like this.  I want my characters to be deeply connected, not lovey-dovey.

So, my encouragement to all of you out there who don’t feel like you’ve had a productive week – or month – or year:  It’s okay.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Read deeply.  Read books that excite you.  Read books that make you want to write.  Read books that inspire you.  And don’t stress if you miss a day or a month of writing.

But then once you’re rested, jump back into it.  That’s what I’m doing.  I’m ending my hiatus by signing up to write 20,000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo this April.  I’d love to have you join me!  Being with a community of creative people is a great way to start writing again.

So here’s to resting, and good books, and starting up again.

happy Matt Smith

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