Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's Okay to Take a Break from Writing

Greetings all, John J. Horn here.

Today I'm sharing thoughts that are somewhat contrary to common writing advice, including advice that I give. Maybe this falls under the "learn the rules so you can break them" category. Or, maybe it's more applicable to the "do what I say, not what I do" principle.

Common writing advice is to write every day, even if it's just 100 words, write every day. Fiction is a craft with tools that need constant sharpening.

I agree with that, but I also think it's okay to take a break from writing.

I finished my last novel in July, 2013, and I have not yet begun my next one. That's because I prioritized two things for this year: Working a new job and studying online at an accelerated pace for a degree. I couldn't add writing a novel to that workload without it negatively affecting my responsibilities as a family member and other areas of my life.

All that is to say that we writers need to remember that writing shouldn't be our number one priority. Life happens, and sometimes we need to pick our fingers off the keyboard and go take care of more important things. And, we shouldn't feel guilty about doing so.

It would have been different if I had a publisher-set deadline in which to complete another book. When you commit to doing something in a timeframe, that something takes on a much higher level of priority. But before making such a commitment you need to be sure you can handle it and everything else that needs to be done in your life.

That's my two cents. Who else has had to take/is taking a significant break from the writing life? Do you ever feel guilty about doing so?

John J. Horn is a Christian author from San Antonio, Texas. Learn more about John and his Men of Grit series and sign up for his newsletter at johnjhornbooks.com.

5 comments:

  1. After publishing a book, I generally take a little break to refresh and recharge. I think it is a good (if not Biblical) principle - if nothing else than to sit back and make sure your focus is on what it should be.

    Just the same... When are you going to get that next book out? ;) I want to read it!

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    1. I'm hoping to be able to start writing again early next year. We shall see. :)

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  2. I am planning on taking the whole month of December off because I wanted to spend a lot of time with family and take a much needed break. Thank you for the reminder about keeping my prioritize straight.

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  3. I don't feel guilty at all (except in the area of where my friend is concerned who is currently waiting to read more--why did I let her start reading my book before I was done...?) :D It can feel a little sad (almost lonely?) to pause for a while in my writing, but I think it is important. Such as when I get stuck. When having difficulty and trying to push through (A. S. Peterson put it something like, "Squeezing blood out of a rock"), my story is usually likely going to end up a bit lame in that section. So I take a break for a while and let my brain slowly mull ideas around; it will figure things out eventually. Then I jump back in to writing.

    Besides, pausing in writing provides an excellent opportunity to just read books! :D

    I am so glad to see that you are possibly working on your next book!! I am currently reading Secret of the Lost Settlement again and loving it to pieces. I really enjoy your books and am looking forward to reading more! :)

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