I Haven't Written in Weeks (and I'm not even sorry)

7:00 AM Gemma Fitz 18 Comments

I had this month all planned out.

I was going to pull Splitting Atoms out of its dusty hiding place, go on a rewriting blitz, and have this new edition at least halfway done by the 31st. And yet, here it is the 22nd (as I write this), and I've got 1.5 pages of complete and utter trash which haven't been modified in weeks.

Go me.

But, honestly, I'm not bothered. I'm not beating myself up about it. (or at least I'm trying not to) I'm not even sorry.
I hear a lot about "writing everyday", "not waiting for inspiration to write", and "write even when you don't want to". And, in general, I agree. Normally, I believe in forcing myself to write-- because if I didn't, I'd never get anything done.

But this month, every time I opened the document and looked at that blank space on the screen, perfectly complimented by the blank space in my mind, I didn't feel just indisposed-- I felt paralysed. Completely overwhelmed and stressed out and incapable of making my brain create words and transfer them to the keyboard.

Life has been hitting harder that usual, I guess. I feel like I've been drowning in school, and my Mom just keeps putting more pressure on me, academically. Which is a good thing, but it's stressful. Church and youth group have been intense lately, which is a good thing, but it's stressful. We're renovating our basement, which means strangers coming and going constantly and lots of loud noises coming from beneath my feet-- it's a good thing, but it's stressful.

And, outside of a couple minutes to talk to my friends at church every Sunday, my social life has been practically non-existent, which means my extrovert soul has been running on empty, which makes functioning in general just. hard.
With everything that's been going on, I don't really feel like forcing myself to work on an already complicated and stressful WIP. And honestly-- right now, writing isn't my first priority. I'm just a kid in high school, and if I don't write for a week or two, it's not going to kill the rest of my writing life. (probably)

So I've taken an unofficial break from writing. And I think that's okay. I don't think we need to beat ourselves up when we don't write regularly or when we don't accomplish our goals. Sometimes we need to step back and reassess what's really important.

Writing, or a much needed seven hours of sleep? A good night's sleep.
Writing, or a long overdue time to read God's word? The Bible.
Writing, or the loads of school work sitting on your desk? School.
Writing, or six hours binge watching Netflix? Uh-- probably writing. But not necessarily.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't stress it. There are things that are more important than writing-- like your physical/mental/emotional/spiritual health-- and if writing is getting in the way of one of those things, it is entirely justified to take a break.

Do you think it's ever okay to take a break from writing? Or do we need to write everyday? Are there any things in your life you've prioritized over writing?

18 comments:

  1. While I am a firm believer of writing every day, my month has been a lot like yours. I planned to kick off the new year with editing a lot of my novel, but that plan was quickly shot when life happened. While I've managed to edit a few chapters, it's been a horrible experience.

    I think it's perfectly acceptable to take a break from writing, especially if you really need to.

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    1. Why can't life just be compliant and predictable? :P Good job on the editing you did get done-- every little bit counts!

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  2. I have what's called 'blank screen syndrome' it's like that blank screen is mocking me. *shudders* I think it's okay to take a break from writing, I did after my first NaNoWrimo, phew that month is tough. It's okay to take a break from pretty much anything if it's making you stressed, or you feel like you just don't want to do it. Don't beat yourself up about it because you may start to dislike the thing.

    ~Noor

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    1. Ugh. Blank screen syndrome is the worst. *nods* And yes, you never want to drive yourself so hard that you start disliking writing altogether!

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  3. I think writing everyday is a good thing, because like you said if I didn't force myself I'd never do anything. Then there are times like you said when like is crazy and if you're running around yelling AAAHHH then making yourself stay up for another hour probably isn't a good thing :/ I'm glad you've taken a break, and I'm sure you'll be better for it in the end.

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    1. *nods* You've got to have some kind of expectations of yourself in order to get stuff done. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

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  4. Oh, this so happens -- and I've had it happen recently, in fact. I think writing every day and being consistent is important, but at the same time it's easy to reach a point where you're burned-out and miserable and life is a thing and mental health is an even more important thing and taking a break is absolutely justified. :)

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    1. Mental health is a very, very important thing, yes. And us writers don't seem to have a whole lot in the first place, so we probably should be careful with what we've got left... :P

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  5. its totally okay to take a break so you can take care of yourself. I havent written in goodness knows how long. but you got to take care of you.
    Im proud of you.

    Im a new follower here :) I love your blog! I found it from Aimee Meesters.
    anyhow, you're adorable and I hope you have a lovely day and that God brings comfort and joy to you during this stressful time.

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    1. Absolutely. *nods*

      Aw, thanks so much! That means a lot. <3

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  6. dude, I totally get this. I took an almost two month hiatus from writing of any sort (even blogging!) last year, and it was a really good thing, once I stopped beating myself up for "being a slacker." It really can rejuvenate you and turn your perspective around. :) also, I'm sorry school feels overwhelming--that's no fun. praying that things are a little less stressful in your life this coming week!

    also a new follower here *waves at Faith and Aimee* your comment on my blog made me smile and giggle. and then I clicked on your blog and it's so beautiful and you seem very funny and nice and I knew I had to follow you. You da greatest. *awkward finger guns/thumbs up* thanks for making my day with your enthusiasm and honesty!

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    1. That's actually really impressive... one of these days I'd like to take a longer, more intentional break, just to push the reset button, but so far I haven't been able to /keep/ myself from writing for that long. :P Thanks so much for your prayers!

      Agh, I'm so happy it made you smile!! I always feel shy about screaming at people I haven't talked to much. *nervous laugh* And aw, you're making me blush, but thank you! I really appreciate the follow! <3

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  7. SO I HAVEN'T BEEN TO YOUR BLOG IN AWHILE BUT I JUST VISITED IT AND OH MY GOODNESS YOUR NEW DESIGN?!? Ackkk it's so lovelyyyyy. I love the pink highlights and how it's all set up. So pretty. <3

    But I totally feel you on this post. I WANT to write everyday, but then before I know it it's been three days and I just have to be okay with that. Yeesh.

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    1. ARGH, THANK YOU SO MUCH. THAT MAKES ME SO HAPPY. :D

      *nods* Sometimes it just doesn't happen, but that's really okay.

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  8. Yep. Sometimes rules- Write every day, so many words, in this tense and with that many words to a sentence- need to be ignored.

    Yay for taking a break, the chance to recharge.

    Have a great week!

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    1. Rules are for the weak. ;)

      You have a good week, too!

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  9. Oh I love the new design of your blog! I haven't been here for a while, and it's such a nice surprise to see. Great job! Also, I totally know this feeling. Sometimes it's just not the right time to be creative. I always find it important to write regularly, but at the same time, there comes a point when you actually need to step away and recharge for a while. Enjoy your writing break!

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    1. Aw, thank you so much!! Absolutely *nods*

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