Writing after a long break

Let’s talk about the 7 month break I took from writing. That’s right… 7 months. It was my longest to date break from writing. And the break happened for several reasons. The kind of reasons where I just didn’t have the proper inspiration or passion to write.

And about 2 days ago that all changed. So naturally I found myself wondering why, and truth be told I might not know all of the reasons why. I think the biggest contributor was the fact that this month I finally started talking about my WIP to people. I told coworkers, friends, and my loved ones about this sequel I’m working on. I started telling people bits and pieces and hearing feedback like “oh my gosh I would read that” or “that sounds amazing.” And that kind of feedback reminded me of why I started writing in the first place. Not for the money, the fame, or anything of that nature. I write because I love telling a story. I love telling a story and that story mattering to someone.

And this all brings me to my next point. I wanted to talk about something very real in regards to writing tonight. Something that I think is often overlooked and forgotten. Something that in the writing community you just cannot stress enough.

Breaks are okay. 100% okay.

I am actually a firm believer in taking breaks. You can’t write and write and write until your hands give out. And other days it feels like you can. But that’s the thing about writing, the thing we just don’t discuss that often. Writing is not constant. You can come up with a schedule and deadlines and plans, and still somewhere along the way there will be something unexpected that jumps out at you.

We as writers need breaks. We need minutes, hours, days, weeks, sometimes even months to reset our brains. We have to give the creativity time to refuel and reshape. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

And quite honestly sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes sh*t happens, and you know what? That’s okay too. No one expects you to write through the darkest hours of your life. Just like no one could expect you to be writing through the happiest hours of your life. Sometimes it’s more than just hours, and that’s when those breaks can extend into an unknown number. That’s when it gets scary because a week turns into a month turns into six months.

Time is precious for a writer, there’s no denying that.

In my seven month break I didn’t talk to a lot of people about writing. To be honest a lot of people probably didn’t know I was taking such a long break. They just assumed I would be writing. Because that’s what writers do, right? Maybe I was ashamed and disappointed, maybe I didn’t know what my next move would be. And in the long run, looking back on it, I wish I did not have such a long break. Those are seven months (of potential writing) I can’t get back.

But like most things breaks do eventually reach their end. You move past whatever is holding you back. Disappointment, writer’s block, depression, life, work, stress, lack of confidence… The list goes on endlessly. Whatever it is, I can guarantee you eventually it sees it way out the door. And then you’re back to writing as if nothing happened.

Breaks are unpredictable and scary. They can seem endless, hopeless, and (ironically) draining.

But at the end of the day breaks are a simple reminder that we are not robots. We are human. We will break, we will fall, we will have our doubts, and then one day we will stand back up again. It is a process. It is something I’ve learned we cannot run away from.

So if you’re experiencing a break in your writing, don’t fret. It will come to an end. You will write again. Take it from somebody who thought their muse and creative skills had abandoned them.

And to those of you, like me, making a recovery of a break. Cheers to those word count goals!

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