Episode 42 – Writing After a Break

The picture is of Mariëlle’s inventive vision board, aka, her wardrobe. Isn’t it fabulous!

In this week’s episode, Mariëlle and I talk about writing after taking a break.

“I don’t know why taking time off has to be emphasized so much to writers. No other profession seems to advocate doing the same thing every day without fail, even if it kills you. Even God took a day out to rest after six days of creating, so why can’t you?” Joanna Penn.

Do you take enough breaks from writing? Or do you feel guilty for every day you don’t get to write?

In Episode 53 of Diving into Writing, Marielle and I talk about our experience of taking a break from writing and what worked for us when it was time to get back to writing.

There are benefits from a period of distance from your project. For example, it can become clear how to fix problematic issues.

An enforced break, such as due to illness, is different from a holiday? But, whatever the reason, it’s crucial to get a feel for the story again. That might involve re-reading what you’ve written and jotting down comments or observations about the whole story. After all, novels are enormous and bring together many elements, they can quickly get out of hand. One way of taking back control is to find a way to capture the whole story. 

Mariëlle’s Exercise

Taking breaks, from anything, is essential to our functioning. The trick is to be mindful of how you take them and why. What do you intend to gain from being away for a bit?

Think of the last time you took a break from your writing. Now ask yourself: Was this a conscious decision, or did it just happen? How did you feel before, during, and after your break? Was it easy or hard to get back into your writing? Was the break long enough, too short, too long? Take a few minutes to reflect on your answers.

Depending on your results, you might want to answer the following questions before taking your next break:

  1. Why do I need this break?
  2. What are my intentions for this break?
  3. When, where, and how am I going to pick up where I left once I’m back?

Should we write every day and if the answer is yes, how does that fit with the belief that we need space from our work to be objective?

Episode 41 – What Motivates Authors to Write?

Something inspires an author to write a novel. Perhaps they have an idea for a story that demands to be told, or their mother was a writer, or they want to prove to that teacher that they have what it takes to do it.

Whatever their initial motivation, if they are going to have a chance at finishing 80,000 words and go on to write a second and third, they need a good deal of inspiration. What helps them to succeed?

Every successful author can identify some of the things that helped them to complete a novel. Some suggest having a writing space or going outside to find inspiration. Some write in the morning or only at night and some can write anywhere. But, what motivated them in the first place and what keeps them writing now. 

While it is essential to have internal motivations, such as, needing to tell a story, or joy in creating characters that have something to show the world, external motivators can help sustain writers in the long term. Glowing reviews and sales can be powerful motivators.

Listen to Mariëlle and Lucinda discuss why they started writing and how they continue to publish regularly.

Mariëlle invites you to consider:

Who are you writing for? Yourself? Your great-great-grandmother who never had the chance to become a writer? That inspiring elementary school teacher who never stopped believing in you? One of your parents, or both?

Grab a notebook, open a new document, or use the white space below. Set the timer to 20 minutes and ask yourself who you want to reach ‘The End’ for. Whoever it is, write them a letter— also if it’s you! —and explain to them why you have what it takes to reach that finish line.