K.M. Weiland reports:
"Sometimes the best thing a writer can do is not write. There are going to be times when our brains are fried, our imaginations are dried up, and our lives are demanding we put non-writing priorities first. In these situations, is it ever acceptable to just surrender and throw down the pen for a while? My answer is absolutely. In fact, sometimes it’s wise to deliberately plan to stop writing...By the time we finish writing a novel, our objectivity will have packed its bags and headed to Rio. We can edit the darn thing until we’re blue in the face, but we’re not likely to really see what’s wrong with it until we’re able to put a little distance between ourselves [and] this story we’ve grown to love (or, perhaps, hate)...We may have any number of good reasons to stop writing a particular book and focus on something else. This something else might be another story, a [nonfiction] book, or something totally unrelated to writing...If you’re lucky enough to be interested and talented in other art forms, you can alternate between projects to keep yourself fresh and interested in both...You take a day off from work every week, so why not writing?...When my writing isn’t going so great, this day is a reward. But even when my writing is sailing along splendidly, this regular day off allows me to recharge my batteries, stave off burnout, and apply time to non-writing activities and chores...When you feel burnout approaching, do yourself and your writing a favor and take a break. After finishing a manuscript, I always have to give myself at least a few months to recuperate before diving into the next project...[T]here are other times when a total vacation is required. Unplug your Internet for a week or two, step away from the computer, and pamper yourself with ice cream, movie marathons, lots of walks, and lots of reading...So far, the break periods we’ve discussed have been relatively brief. But what about taking a serious break from writing? What about stopping for months or even years? This, of course, is a whole ’nother ballgame. If you’re even considering this, then you are either losing interest in your writing or...facing major changes in your life. Both are legitimate reasons to make the decision to step away from your writing for a time. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we just won’t be able to make our writing work at certain periods in our life...If writing isn’t what you want to (or can) do right now, don’t be afraid to set it aside for a while. This doesn’t mean you’re not a writer, and it doesn’t mean you’ll never come back to your writing. A decision like this should never be made lightly, but, in some situations, it may be the best thing you can do for both yourself and all the stories you will write in the future. Writers write. But sometimes, when they have good reasons for doing so, writers don’t write. If you need to take a break—long or short—to let a story breathe or to let yourself breathe, then don’t hesitate to do so. Writing is an inherently instinctive and organic process. If your gut is telling you a break is just what the book doctor ordered, then go for it. Otherwise, get back to your desk and start hammering those keys!"
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