Questions 3: Surviving Writing Breaks

After having a very busy summer and nearly jumping right back into the TA job, I haven’t had much writing time.  People might notice that I haven’t been able to get to my books for most of the year.  Finishing one is a miracle and I can only imagine how rough it’s going to be to edit it.  Don’t think War of Nytefall: Eradication will get a December release like I’d hoped.  There have simply been too many breaks that were caused by a long list of events.

Now, I’ve talked about this during my Saturday posts and I usually get a lot of suggestions that don’t really work out.  I’ve come to realize that my schedule is filled pretty well and I only get quiet time when I’m exhausted.  Moments when I do get time and have the energy can be undone by people who don’t really acknowledge my writing as anything more than an unimportant fancy.  This was easy to contend with when I was a full-time author, but not when I have a main job that takes most of the day.  The bandits are quite successful at derailing my mental train.

I’ve taken to puzzles to try to relax and I do reading when I can.  These help get me through the breaks with some level of mental stimulation.  If I can get to an outline then I’m doing even better, but that’s rarely the case.  I tried to bring a notebook to the summer job and I simply couldn’t find a moment to work with it.  Didn’t help that I couldn’t keep it near me while I worked, so I didn’t bring my satchel either.  I gave up on trying this early on, so I focused on the job.  Before anyone asks, I couldn’t use an app on my phone because there’s a very strict ‘no phone’ policy.  Scrap paper was out too.  I jotted down a few passwords that I got for some of the older games and a kid doodled on them at some point.  You get what I’m saying here and I’ve probably said it before.

So, here are some questions:

  1. What do you do to maintain your creativity during a ‘break’ from writing?
  2. Has there ever been a point when a ‘break’ felt like it would go on for the rest of your life?
  3. What is something that you know wouldn’t help you get through a break?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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16 Responses to Questions 3: Surviving Writing Breaks

  1. 1. Read, watch movies, do puzzles, and scribble notes when I can (hoping they still make sense later).
    2. Yes, during all my health issues over the past couple of years.
    3. People who don’t understand my need to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t really taken breaks from writing novels on purpose. The ones that I had I was busy with hurricane, surgery, moving, and broken knee cap. So I don’t think I have had a real break since 2012. I wrote every day but was blog etc. When I wasn’t working on a novel I always wondered if I would return so it seemed like it could be permanent. Not helpful getting through a break is folks asking when I will get back to writing.

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  3. L. Marie says:

    1. What do you do to maintain your creativity during a ‘break’ from writing?
    I read articles and craft books on writing. I listen to podcasts also. But mostly, I do other creative things like draw or crochet. I also write story notes, even when I don’t feel inspired to actually write the story.
    2. Has there ever been a point when a ‘break’ felt like it would go on for the rest of your life?
    I didn’t write anything for three years one time. But that was deliberate. I quit writing after a painful rejection. But I hurt myself in the process. Another time, I felt so uninspired, I didn’t write anything for months.
    3. What is something that you know wouldn’t help you get through a break?
    One thing that never helps is clinging to the belief that I’ll never return to a state of flow—that things will always be this way. Another thing that doesn’t help is listening to people who are negative: “See, I always told you this wouldn’t work.” “I don’t know why you bothered in the first place.”

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  4. I like film when I’m taking a break. It’s like the Cliff’s notes of stories, but I can get through a lot of them. Knowing the recipe helps me spot the turning points and decide if they did well, or there is room for improvement. I also read and surf the Internet. I took a “so called” break for an entire summer once, because I felt like I didn’t have any valid ideas. I used this time to start a pile of storyboards and that really helped. Many fell by the way, some merged with others and they grew. Others held on in the marathon of story creation. I learned to keep up on this, so I always have something I can work on now. As far as the last one, I’m my own worst enemy. I look at the expenditures vs the returns, then beat myself up for not being better at what I do. Time is precious, and sometimes others around me deserve their turn. I’ve learned to fit my writing into the cracks.

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  5. 1. I find TV a great help – but then I tend to write about the absurd. I often get ideas for absurd comedy when watching TV, even from adverts. And I read a lot, of course.
    2. I feel like this whenever anything goes wrong – I can’t write when I’m stressed out. At the time, it feels like I’m never going to feel any different, but it soon passes.
    3. Sometimes people suggest you should make a plan or a timetable. Life always gets in the way of plans, and then there’s the added frustration of having failed to stick to them.

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  6. A year ago, I was so sucked into the video game series, Dragon Age, that I stopped writing for about 6 months. I had a great time with them, but I worried that I might not write again. The projects I’ve been working on since are all influenced by those games, though. The things we take in are all potential influences.

    I know you’re in a tough spot as far as defending your writing time and the validity of your art. Maybe think of your life as a kind of puzzle? You have strategies for which parts to work on first. So maybe ask yourself, what pieces do you need to lay down so that your writing can emerge again.

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