Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Taking a break from writing... (2 Viewers)

Status
Not open for further replies.

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
So writing has been a struggle lately and to be honest I'm not having fun. I try not to take more than a few days off from writing because I don't want to fall off for long periods of time. I forced myself to work on a trash heap for 5 to 6 months straight. It was a good experience but I left my novel to die and be reborn (rewritten) for when I'm more up to par for the task.
I am working on a short story but in all honesty, I'm burnt out. I'm tired and I keep looking at it with a lack of motivation to finish it because I always second guess myself. When you take a break from writing how long do you take? What is a decent break for you?
I was going to read some books to help me get re-inspired and motivated and help me be more comfortable with my prose. It will also give me an opportunity to read more stories in the workshop :)
(tbh I don't want to take more than a week or so but I am interested in hearing other peoples opinions/ struggles)
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
So writing has been a struggle lately and to be honest I'm not having fun. I try not to take more than a few days off from writing because I don't want to fall off for long periods of time. I forced myself to work on a trash heap for 5 to 6 months straight. It was a good experience but I left my novel to die and be reborn (rewritten) for when I'm more up to par for the task.
I am working on a short story but in all honesty, I'm burnt out. I'm tired and I keep looking at it with a lack of motivation to finish it because I always second guess myself. When you take a break from writing how long do you take? What is a decent break for you?
I was going to read some books to help me get re-inspired and motivated and help me be more comfortable with my prose. It will also give me an opportunity to read more stories in the workshop :)
(tbh I don't want to take more than a week or so but I am interested in hearing other peoples opinions/ struggles)
I took nearly 20 years and regretted it. Every single writer hits that wall at some point. Every single ONE. Do you know what I ask myself every so often? It's a telling question and one I hate considering: If you won 10 million pounds on the lottery tomorrow, would you stop writing altogether?

Boy, that gives me the sweats. And you know what, I couldn't give you a definitive answer.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I took nearly 20 years and regretted it. Every single writer hits that wall at some point. Every single ONE. Do you know what I ask myself every so often? It's a telling question and one I hate considering: If you won 10 million pound on the lottery tomorrow, would you stop writing altogether?

Boy, that gives me the sweats. And you know what, I couldn't give you a definitive answer.
I know it's a common thing to feel up and down about your work. I just been feeling a lot downs. I think taking the time and reading a bit will help me analyze syntax, prose in publish work and hep me gain some perspective. I look at my writing and I think about writing and it gives me a headache. Hopping some perspective will give a bit of a boost. I want to finish adding what I feel my story needs, print it out, go over it and write and rewrite certain parts in a note book until I think it's ready to be edited through again. Of course I will drop some sentences/ paragraphs in the craft thread before posting it.
But I don't wanna stare and it and hate everything the whole time.

Lol. Listen, I am so wishy washy and I hate it. I've had a quite few hobbies in my short life time and I always wonder when I will toss this one aside again and never actually continue to write until I'm "publishable"
Wish I had more certainty and consistency for the things I want/ like.

But don't worry I'm not dumping writing and the forum (yet) 😉
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
I know it's a common thing to feel up and down about your work. I just been feeling a lot downs. I think taking the time and reading a bit will help me analyze syntax, prose in publish work and hep me gain some perspective. I look at my writing and I think about writing and it gives me a headache. Hopping some perspective will give a bit of a boost. I want to finish adding what I feel my story needs, print it out, go over it and write and rewrite certain parts in a note book until I think it's ready to be edited through again. Of course I will drop some sentences/ paragraphs in the craft thread before posting it.
But I don't wanna stare and it and hate everything the whole time.

Lol. Listen, I am so wishy washy and I hate it. I've had a quite few hobbies in my short life time and I always wonder when I will toss this one aside again and never actually continue to write until I'm "publishable"
Wish I had more certainty and consistency for the things I want/ like.

But don't worry I'm not dumping writing and the forum (yet) 😉
I do hope so. You've got some great ideas and unique takes. It'd be a shame to let them go to waste.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I do hope so. You've got some great ideas and unique takes. It'd be a shame to let them go to waste.
Thank you, I will keep trudging along.
If there is anything I want my writing to be/ have it's a "unique" aspect. I think there is too many tropes being used, especially in YA. (In my humble opinion)
 

notawizard

Senior Member
I think reading more sounds like a good idea. And taking a vacation is fine, IMO, though I'd give myself a set time (like two weeks off) if possible.

Honestly, what it sounds like to me is that something is wrong with your WIP and you don't know what it is. I've been there, and it's nearly impossible to keep going when you just know what you're doing is wrong. I've even found that a lot of times, looking back on previous drafts, even ones I was happy with, I always knew what areas just were off and not quite right. I don't think there's anything wrong with taking some time and stepping back and reading a bit if that's the case. I'd also really look at character motivations and why they're doing what they're doing. For me, the problem ALWAYS comes down to a character doing something that doesn't really make sense for the character.

That being said, if by "trash" what you mean is that the writing just isn't there yet but your story is fine, just give yourself permission to write trash. It's honestly easier to fix on edits, IMO. I literally have a book that has things like, "put something funny here," and "make this part not suck" in the draft because I didn't know what to do with it on the first draft. If that's the problem, just know that you don't need to be perfect and that once the bones are down you can always go back and improve the actual writing of it.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
The idea for my short story was going to be a lot longer but I decided to not pursue such a long short story since this is my first short story since highschool. I was writing a book but my ideas changed and the pacing was a hot mess and my writing and story telling ability isn't up to par with what I want it to become and as mentioned my MC lacked motivation/ goal. So I decided to work on shorts to work on my craft and story telling abilities.
For my short I'm adding scenes to what I already have instead of expanding on it like I was originally gonna do. I gotta make sure everything flows and the story I am tryna tell is expressed correctly.
I am struggling with making sure things are in there I'm a way that flows and isn't jarring since I'm inserting stuff. But I think I lack confidence and that's what's wrong with my writing. Because it makes me not want to write and I second guess everything.
So I want to get into a new book that inspires me and gives me a boost of motivation while giving me ideas about prose. Even if I'm reading a different genre than what I'm writing. It gives me some perspective to work with. And can be a bit of "fresh air"
 

notawizard

Senior Member
Flow is something that you can always work on with edits. I get what you mean about confidence, but there really is something to be said for doing one's best at the moment. Writing is great because you can always go back and change things and improve. Even the best writers out there constantly improve (well, most writers lol, I can think of a couple who went backwards). Writing is a process and we do the best we can, then we can go back through and read it again and make changes as necessary to improve it again.

I actually am planning to do some shorts as practice for craft, too, because it challenges me to do things I don't normally do and hopefully learn from it.

I found this website awhile back that might help you on character motivations:
 

Ajoy

Senior Member
I took a two-week break between my first and second drafts and a four-week break between drafts two and three, but I had a clear restart date in my planner in each of those cases. While I'm working on a draft, if I get stuck/frustrated/burnt out/hit a wall, I've taken two or three days off here and there. I think breaks can be really helpful.

One thing that helped me that might also help for your situation is to write short stories about the characters and the world from your novel. It's a great way to work on craft in shorter works while also getting to know your characters and world better. It also helped me stay excited about coming back to my novel when I was ready.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I took a two-week break between my first and second drafts and a four-week break between drafts two and three, but I had a clear restart date in my planner in each of those cases. While I'm working on a draft, if I get stuck/frustrated/burnt out/hit a wall, I've taken two or three days off here and there. I think breaks can be really helpful.

One thing that helped me that might also help for your situation is to write short stories about the characters and the world from your novel. It's a great way to work on craft in shorter works while also getting to know your characters and world better. It also helped me stay excited about coming back to my novel when I was ready.
I actually was thinking about writing scenes from my story here and there to get practice in and rewrite them when I actually start drafting (so it will flow better) or even write scenes that won't end up in the novel
So thank you for affirming that idea :)
 
Last edited:

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I took a two-month break from my novel, precipitated by an illness. I regretted it. Then, worked my butt off to get caught up to my original goal.

It's obvious that you love writing. So yes, read, take a short break, but don't get discouraged. If I were talking to my younger self, I would say, write...write...write!
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
You said to post about our struggles. I've been frustrated with my slow progress. Yesterday, I spent my time doing some mundane things that were not exciting. I can see where writing can sometimes not be fun. Research is not fun for me and is part of the writing process. I know very little of gambling. I know very little of stalking. I did some research yesterday to help write it.

I want to encourage you to write. I think notawizard and ajoy gave really good advice (excellent advice). Stakes are important for writing the story. I gave you a list of stakes. You need to feel encouraged.

Sometimes we need to read something to activate our imaginations. If you can sign on to kindle unlimited do so. I am considering it. It's cheaper than buying books.

I hope there is something I can do to encourage. Characterization is difficult to pull of, but that makes for original storytelling as most plots have been supposedly told. There are not that many original stories. I like to use tropes when it helps. Original characters can be make a story with a trope more original. It is said no one can copyright characters. That is the original part of the story. Try to write an original character. Reading will help you to write what you want to write.

Read similar work to yours. That is the best advice I can give. Read ghost stories.
 
Last edited:

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
Yep, sometimes I can hate writing more than I love it. So I understand your frustration.
I do agree I need to read more books on plot characterization and stakes like you and others have suggested. I want my characters to feel like real people, especially since I write in first person.

I like to watch a lot of horror/ thiller type movies but I like to read a lot of young adult fiction with a romantic plot line.
I dont have a problem with all tropes. I like some. I just get super annoyed when I see the same thing constantly. I read several different books from different authors and like 5 out of the 8 books I read had a "slutty" pretty mean girl(s) who were after the MC love interest. They had no characterization, they were a trope and a genetic obstacle that annoyed the main character.
I do need to read more types of stories I am currently interested in writing. I need to get into more YA thrillers :)
Thanks TGH
 

Jan

Senior Member
I have numerous hobbies, so I cannot prioritize everything. Therefore I keep it simple and let my motivation decide. If I wake up feeling motivated to write, then I write. If i feel motivated to do programming but not writing then I do that.

Or if I only feel motivated to do netflix, then that works too...

I would also like to add that taking breaks is a healthy thing to do. In todays culture it is so normalized that everything is just "Do more" This is not always the right approach in my opinion.

So to the point. Take a break, and come back stronger when you feel better.
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
Too much reading for the sake of trying to learn what other writers are doing can muddle your voice, imo. Too many writers seek to emulate other writers. Just know that you can only be a 2nd rate version of that other person. At some point you're going to have to hone your own voice if you want to write seriously. Your voice is wonderful. Don't drown in the voice of someone else or with rules that aren't really rules but the opinion of someone you don't know.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
Too much reading for the sake of trying to learn what other writers are doing can muddle your voice, imo. Too many writers seek to emulate other writers. Just know that you can only be a 2nd rate version of that other person. At some point you're going to have to hone your own voice if you want to write seriously. Your voice is wonderful. Don't drown in the voice of someone else or with rules that aren't really rules but the opinion of someone you don't know.
I am not reading to try and emulate someone's voice. ( I dont think i'd even smart enough to figure out how I'd go about even doing that lol) I read because it helps motivate writing. I think it would help me gain some confidence just by seeing all the different ways you can write a book and it is still considered good. Remind myself I dont have to fit into a mold to be good or publishable. -helps me understand style a bit more.
What i've read lately and the tone of the stories are actually quite different. LOL
I've been told I have an "original" voice. I honestly just write things and try and play with words. I'm not even sure what my voice is or writing style is lol. I write and see what happens haha. 2 things I want to do with my writing currently, get my point across efficiently without blatantly telling the reader what's going on (showing vs telling/ narration vs dramatization), and have less awkward sentences.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
My next book, Redemption is due out in early August, and by then I should be done with the first draft of Inception, which isn't due until next year. So, I'm planning to ride my motorcycle up north through Colorado and into Wyoming for a week or so. I've been stressed and need a break... and new story ideas often come when I get away by myself for a while.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
lol so I guess I'm not taking a break from writing...I worked on my short last night and started a flash today.
I think I needed to take a break from my "inner editor" and just write. It can be tough, because I want my writing to be good. But having that mentality can make me not want to write at all sometimes...
 

Megan Pearson

Senior Member
So writing has been a struggle lately and to be honest I'm not having fun. ... I am working on a short story but in all honesty, I'm burnt out. I'm tired and I keep looking at it with a lack of motivation to finish it because I always second guess myself. When you take a break from writing how long do you take? What is a decent break for you?
You know, not all writing problems are cured by writing more or reading more. Sometimes taking a break means stepping away so you can find yourself again.

I’ve stepped away before. Sometimes it’s involuntary. Deadlines, family illness. Sometimes it’s voluntary. An art class I once took turned out to be one of the most refreshing things I've ever done for my writing. I still use those concepts learned during that break away from writing, in my writing. I’m taking a voluntary break to pursue a master’s degree. Despite 'being away' from the daily habit of writing, I’ve been discovering how much this pursuit is helping me approach my writing, particularly with regards to clarity and structure. My hope is that this training will also make the content of what I write all the more richer. (And it's not a ‘clean’ break. I'm still pursuing various aspects of my personal writing projects, even with other deadlines.)

Have you read John Gardner? He has a lot of grace for beginning writers. One piece of advice that has stuck with me is that you don’t have to have an English degree to make it as a writer. What you need is a life that you live to its fullest. He understood that the place from where we write is not to be found in other people’s writing—that’s for developing how we communicate our story—but that the story itself needs its genesis in something deeper, something more real, more genuine, and that that place is something deep inside of each of us. Seen this way, taking a ‘break’ might actually be the best thing you can do to overcome certain writing issues because, when you come back to it—and you will—you will be a richer person for the experiences gained. Essentially, you will have more to offer the stories you write.

How long of a break to take? Honestly, sometimes we simply need our creative batteries recharged. Even for a short break, any break has two parts to it, the 'taking a break from __ ' part and the 'taking a break to __ ' part. For example, I used to paint. But I don't take time away from my writing to paint because I get all wrapped up in it and will leave the writing aside. So if I want to paint, I just do that and I don't consider it in conjunction with my writing. Rather, for myself, I find a good healthy break from my writing usually involves other people or nature. Going hiking or kayaking, art museums and botanical gardens with friends and family, or taking the grandkids to the zoo are at the top of my healthy break 'go to' list. Good breaks for me are inspiring, get me out of my routine, and sometimes come with some downtime where I can leisurely talk about my writing projects with people familiar with them. Sometimes their feedback brings me an epiphany of 'why didn't I think of that!' or they may offer a perspective that changes how I see what I'm working on.

If I could give some advice on taking a break, it would be to consider what you're going to feed your muse with during that break. If you took a week off from writing, what would you want to do that is both fun and inspiring?
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
You know, not all writing problems are cured by writing more or reading more. Sometimes taking a break means stepping away so you can find yourself again.

I’ve stepped away before. Sometimes it’s involuntary. Deadlines, family illness. Sometimes it’s voluntary. An art class I once took turned out to be one of the most refreshing things I've ever done for my writing. I still use those concepts learned during that break away from writing, in my writing. I’m taking a voluntary break to pursue a master’s degree. Despite 'being away' from the daily habit of writing, I’ve been discovering how much this pursuit is helping me approach my writing, particularly with regards to clarity and structure. My hope is that this training will also make the content of what I write all the more richer. (And it's not a ‘clean’ break. I'm still pursuing various aspects of my personal writing projects, even with other deadlines.)

Have you read John Gardner? He has a lot of grace for beginning writers. One piece of advice that has stuck with me is that you don’t have to have an English degree to make it as a writer. What you need is a life that you live to its fullest. He understood that the place from where we write is not to be found in other people’s writing—that’s for developing how we communicate our story—but that the story itself needs its genesis in something deeper, something more real, more genuine, and that that place is something deep inside of each of us. Seen this way, taking a ‘break’ might actually be the best thing you can do to overcome certain writing issues because, when you come back to it—and you will—you will be a richer person for the experiences gained. Essentially, you will have more to offer the stories you write.

How long of a break to take? Honestly, sometimes we simply need our creative batteries recharged. Even for a short break, any break has two parts to it, the 'taking a break from __ ' part and the 'taking a break to __ ' part. For example, I used to paint. But I don't take time away from my writing to paint because I get all wrapped up in it and will leave the writing aside. So if I want to paint, I just do that and I don't consider it in conjunction with my writing. Rather, for myself, I find a good healthy break from my writing usually involves other people or nature. Going hiking or kayaking, art museums and botanical gardens with friends and family, or taking the grandkids to the zoo are at the top of my healthy break 'go to' list. Good breaks for me are inspiring, get me out of my routine, and sometimes come with some downtime where I can leisurely talk about my writing projects with people familiar with them. Sometimes their feedback brings me an epiphany of 'why didn't I think of that!' or they may offer a perspective that changes how I see what I'm working on.

If I could give some advice on taking a break, it would be to consider what you're going to feed your muse with during that break. If you took a week off from writing, what would you want to do that is both fun and inspiring?
I didnt end up taking a break from writing I just turned off my inner editor and wrote something else. I feel that if I take too long of a break its hard to say when I will come back. I stopped writing for seven years, I dont want that to happen again and I dont want to be wishy washy about my hobbies (I have an issue with that) especially ones I want to take seriously.
Breaks are good for sure. I cant sit in a cave al day and read and write. I go out and do things. Mainly spend time with friends, nothing too exciting usually. (Its actually a lot more than I use to do. I use to just sleep and work) I dont have issues with creativity, but I'm only 23 so I have a lot to learn and to see. Only time -n that regard- can help that part of my writing.
My Main issue and what makes me not want to write/ enjoy it, is hating my writing because I don't think its good enough. I lack the patience I need to help me write. I have a problem with perfectionism and constantly wanting to improve takes away from the joys of story telling. I get frustrated because I know my skill can not accurately portray what I want it too.

I do need to relax and let myself take more breaks. I like to read because it can help improve my vocab as well not just syntax. And sometimes these books will give me experiences/perspectives that I dont/won't be able to have. I think we need both, personal experience and perspective on others
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top