So, everyone has discussed or will discuss at some point how to get past writers block, how to get the creative juices flowing once they’ve stopped for some reason, and how to keep fighting the good fight. But, what no one, or few people that I’ve read or heard, talk about is when to take some time away from writing entirely.
Sure, I’ve read about taking time away after finishing a novel, but often in the context of beginning something anew to take your mind off the old. Never just taking time away as in no writing, no reading, no anything having to do with the craft. So that”s what we’re going to talk about today, when and how to take time away. . .
- When everyday is a never-ending struggle– sure, we have slumps sometimes. Maybe a week, two weeks, perhaps a month (maybe). And that’s fine, these things happen, but when it comes on two months, three months, and every single day is a struggle to get even a sliver of creative juice out of your brain, it may be a sign to take some time away.
- When everyday you fail to complete even a little bit– we have days where a page is about as far from our minds as the stars at night, and completing a page seems like a child’s fantasy. That’s fine, but when this happens for a period of weeks, even months, consecutively. . . this is probably a sign to take some time away because your brain is either distracted or exhausted for some reason and needs to rest. So give it rest.
- When you’ve done no writing at all– yeah, I know, paradoxical right? But it’s true, when you procrastinate and put off writing, it means that you obviously don’t want to write, no matter how much you say you do. So, as a solution to this procrastination, just stop. Seriously, stop torturing yourself. If you have work, school, projects, etc. Do those. The white canvas will be there when you have free time, but as long as those things stand in the way you’ll never get any writing done in the first place so just stop for a while. A month. Six months. A year. Whatever, get your affairs in order because when you face the white canvas, it’s all or nothing.
Writing is a long-term and lifelong process, you don’t do it for one day, one week, one month, or one year. You do it everyday, consistently or not at all (or you find a way to be effective and lazy at the same time, like myself). It takes years of work and dedication and many people are not psychologically fit to endure the times of struggle and uncertainty. The times of getting nowhere, being nowhere, the times of emptiness and relentless self-deprecating thoughts swirling around in your head telling you that you’ll never be good enough, that you’ll never achieve anything great, that you won’t even be a footnote in history, that you’ll just be a forgotten piece of existence once you and your family pass away into dust and ash.
Despite all that though, it’s important to know when to just stop. Just take some time away and don’t try to come up with that best seller. And, if you have thoughts like the ones I just stated, that’s definitely a sign that you need to take some time away.
As always, that’s my spiel on the subject.
Till next week. . .