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Monday, September 27, 2010

When Taking a Break is Bad

I love breaks.  Breaks are good most of the time.  But if you're like me, sometimes breaks can go on for a long time.  For me, most breaks relate to my writing.  I've always heard that if you're stuck, take a break.  Or if you're so frustrated with your WIP that burning it seems like a good idea, take a break.  And that's great advice.

But.....

When the break that's supposed to last for a day or so stretches into weeks or even months, then you've got a problem.  I know all about that.  I finished my first draft for my first WIP at the beginning of August.  And it took me 11 months to do it.  Yep, you read that right.  Eleven. Freaking. Months.

I'm not even finished.  I'm in the middle of Revisionland, and I've started to find myself succumbing to those old urges again.  It's hard to figure out what needs to be cut or what needs to added, so I tell myself I'll take a quick peek at The Black Hole of Time Suck (AKA Twitter).  Or I'll check my email.  Repeatedly. Then there's all those blogs I need to catch up on....

Folks, it's a vicious cycle.  Sometimes, I don't even get my writing done for the day because of some serious procrastination.  Not. Good.  And when I'm hit with the "I'm a hack writer" days, the writing break seems to stretch on forever.

Now I do have one suggestion for breaking the "writing break" cycle.  My CPs and I have Smackdown sessions that have helped me become really productive.  It's simple...we get on Instant Messenger (or you could use Twitter) and we set a time like 30 minutes.  That 30 minutes is for writing.  When time's up, we check in and give a status update.  Works like a charm for me.

So do you have any ways to break those "too-long writer's breaks"?  What's the longest writing break you've ever taken?

15 comments:

  1. Yep, I know all about this problem unfortunately. I make up for it by overdoing on the other end by staying up all night to write, doing a novel in 30 days, and generally engaging in other obsessive writing behavior to make up for lost time.

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  2. That's an awesome idea. WHen I feel like I need a break I try to work on something else. That works for me.

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  3. I really struggle with this ... I am a champion procrastinator.

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  4. Bring it!

    ... even though you totally kicked my arse last night. Man, you got lots down and I ended up staring aimlessly at the wall LOL! =D

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  5. I need a break, badly. Not from the writing, just from the thoughts inside my head. Do you ever need a break from yourself? I'd like advice on that!

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  6. Just left a really long comment, but Blogger ate it, so I'll cut it short this time. I know exactly how you feel. I've been there and the only way I know out is to read old writing of mine. I smile because I've improved so much. That's all I want... to get a little better every day.

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  7. Thank you for the congratulations the other day Melissa! :D

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  8. I know exactly what you mean. I'm trying to write without breaking, but right now all I seem to have time for is thinking about my WIP. But at least the ideas are there, I guess. :)

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  9. Melissa, it's totally OK to take your time. It's not a race. It's about quality over quantity. Trust me. I learned this the hard way. ;) Now write Melissa, write! =)

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  10. I know how you feel, I've been there. I love the #writing hashtag on Twitter. I check it every morning when I log on. I see who's writing and I set talk about my goals with them, #writegoal. Join us! At the end of the morning we can post our word count under the #writegoal or #writing hashtag and we'll keep each other on track!

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  11. I know how you feel! I took a break for the summer due to work and I'm slowly crawling out of it. I think the key is to try a little bit every day. =)

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  12. I attach electrodes to my scrotum and if I go longer than one day without writing they send out rather uncomfortable shock!!

    Okay...I'm kidding...but it would be a pretty powerful motivator, don't you think? :)

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  13. It took you 11 months to complete your first draft? Congrats. It took me FIVE GOD-AWFUL YEARS!

    Currently in month 13 of my current WIP--dystopian sci-fi/horror thing.

    The Black Hole of Time Suck--ha ha! Mine is facebook, e-mails, checking the stats of my blog and frowning, petting the dogs, taking naps, blahblahblah.

    Good luck to you in your manuscript!

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  14. Writing is an ebb and flow for me...when I'm writing, I'm really writing, and when I'm not, well I'm not. Kinda there right now. Next week, for sure :)

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