Monday, August 26, 2013

When you need a break

I have been in sessions at writer's conferences where the entire session was all about trying to get the maximum word count every day no matter way. I've heard speakers say that that you MUST write every day to keep your craft up - whether it's nine words or nine thousand.

I both agree and disagree with these thoughts.

YES, I think it's good to write every day. I think it's a good practice to get into making yourself write even when you don't feel like it - sort of a "forced inspiration". It's good to know that you can write something well on a deadline even if all the stars aren't lining up as far as making the best situation for that to happen.

However, I also think that breaks are good and very needed sometimes. There will be days where you are in between deadlines or when life just gets busy or you're sick or someone you love needs you. And it's okay. It's OKAY to take that much needed break.

I worry sometimes that we as writers put far too much pressure on ourselves. We're in constant competition mode with every other writer out there. How many books have THEY sold? When did they get their first contract? How come they got another contract and we didn't? How in the world do they find time to write three million words a day, cook gourmet dinners, dress their kids in trendy clothes and homeschool all at the same time?

I'm calling to an end to the competition. God has gifted each of us differently. Perhaps your friend the mega-bestseller can do everything at once and still have time for Jesus and for herself. But maybe you can't. And that's okay. Cut where you need to cut and take breaks for short periods of time.

Where are you pressuring yourself too much?


  1. I needed to here this. I'm struggling with my need for a break or continuing my current break, I put too much pressure on myself, seriously at the beginning of the year my goal was to write 3 books. 1 1/2 way through it was just exhausted. Allowed a month break and haven't really wanted to get back into it. Now I'm wondering if I should even be writing at all. Could I need a longer break? Is that even an ok thing? Idk, yet. I've been praying about it. I haven't found the answer yet. Part of me feels guilty giving it up bc I've wanted to be a writer so long. I'm just a but confused.

    1. Tonya, 3 books in a year sounds like a LOT, especially if you're not already published. Maybe I'm wrong, though (and someone can feel free to tell me so!). I wonder if you've simply pushed too hard and burned yourself out rather than enjoying the process.
      I wrote my first in just under a year (which utterly shocked me!) but have spent plenty more time revising it. I had wanted to finish another rough draft by the end of this month but haven't even begun it (b/c I'm getting the current one ready for the conference).
      I read a post recently that talked about loving the process. It was so encouraging! Maybe it will help you a little:

    2. I think its a lot too. I don't know what I was thinking! At least I learned before I was on a deadline. Thanks for the link ill go check it out :)

    3. Whoa! 3 books? Wow! You're ambitious.

      I am a historical-fiction author and I spent close to seven years on my first book. And I spent roughly another seven on the second. Of course, I was still learning HOW to write and all that, but still... Now, I try to average a book a year. :) And I agree with Erynn that sometimes we just have to let our goals go a little when God and circumstances call us to rest. It's important. :)

  2. For me, writing was a gift the Lord gave me as a much-needed outlet. And in the midst of that, I have come to love several things about the writing life. One, it's been an opportunity to share some of my experiences with the Lord in the words I put on paper. Two, when something else needs to take priority (being sick, family situations, etc.), I can. Writing is more flexible than a 9-5 job (to be fair, I'm also only on my own deadlines, not a contract).

    I think where I'm pressuring myself is that I want to push my learning curve tighter. But life makes me keep an even pace, which is probably a God-thing. :)

  3. This is great stuff. Thanks so much, Erynn!