04 January

Writing Breaks - STOP to Go Faster...


Cookie Breaks. Everyone needs them. Those who require them most rarely partake.

This last fall, I wrote like a prosaic slave, trying to attempt something never before tried — to write an entire genre book draft in under 3 months.

I did it. It almost killed me. Not because doing so is that dangerous, but because my brain had never geared up for that kind of speed.

My prior works were research heavy, filled with facts and high symbolism. Literary, all the way. I wrapped real, historical events or icons or ideals around a fictitious tale. The quickest I had managed to complete a book draft was 5.5 months, and that was only because the first 50,000 words were hacked out in Nanowrimo.

After finishing my fourth literary novel, this time a WWII epic length work, and without taking a break when that work took over 2 years of research and close to 5 years to complete, I (stupidly?) chose to start a murder mystery genre series.

Without. A. Break.

Oh, yes, thank you, reader, for offering me the DUNCE CAP >>>

to wear as I sit on a stool in the corner of my office, utterly ashamed and embarrassed. You're a pal. Feel free to throw rotten tomatoes at me.

Long story, made pathetically longer...

Nearing Christmas, I would try to plunk out new words on the draft or edit the manuscript, and each sentence was an exercise in mental torture. I was slow to write, slow to think, and exhausted before I began each day.

Then, because my brain was made by Sanyo and not Sony, it finally dawned on me. I need a break. *enter the loudest Homer Simpson DOH! you have ever heard*

And so, after that light bulb lit, I dropped everything, and did nothing cerebral over Christmas. And I mean NOTHING. I allowed my brain to go into hibernation. 

I didn't even think about my works, which for me while in the draft phase is very abnormal.

While relaxing, I'd watch great old movies or cool documentaries or decorate the house. Anything and everything NOT associated with writing. Probably the first time I had taken a break since 2016.

And I won't lie, it felt darnnn guuud!


Sometimes, a writer needs to know when taking a break from writing is the fastest way to write. 

Now, don't get me wrong... using a break as an excuse not to write is, well, not right.

You have a conscience.

You know when you're conning yourself.

Writers are the best con artists going. We can contrive wild reasons for NOT writing.

What I'm talking about here is writer exhaustion, when to keep writing becomes a detriment to getting works done.

Backstory: Having chosen to write a commercial genre series, I now belong to a like-minded writers group whose members seemingly NEVER take breaks. These weirdo automatons can barf out thousands of words per day, every day, most likely 'til they die. That fact is awesome, and if I'm honest, rather disturbing... hey, I'm human.

My hopeful outlook on this Mensa-level group: I'm sure as I get more practice writing faster — literally completing an entire genre series in less than a year — the effort will feel less exhausting, and I'll be able to produce more over the long run. 

I know I'm in another deep learning curve. The only out I have is genre demands very little research or facts digging. All it requires is an imagination and consistency, and speed.

My BIG error: not taking a break after that hugely difficult WWII epic. 

My error is a gift to you >>>

Take a break after completing a book. I had done that for all my previous works, but somehow lost my head after this last one, and stupidly entered into a brand-new learning curve without so much as coming up for air, which is hilarious, as my last book was titled, AIR. It's swell how I can be so utterly dumb on so many levels.

Yep, my furry wittle writers, even I, the Great STOP Now Writing Girl Guru, can monumentally screw up. You're welcome.


Now, it's 2022. A brand-new year with a brand-new outlook.

My resolutions are thus:

1) take breaks already, Ms. Perfect Idiot.

2) get done what you can get done in a day, and no more. After all, by now, I'm statistically closer to death than I am to achieving perfection. I know. Hard pill to swallow. But swallow that Vitamin Reality Pill, I must, and then I need to take a nap. I'll feel better in the morning.

3) compare your progress not to others, but to your own abilities, and leave Mr. Guilt Trip at the door. It's -20 outside right now. That hairy beast will die of hypothermia soon enough.


Even slightly old dogs need to learn slightly new tricks. And at least I know I'll never be too old to learn. Maybe this newfound awareness is the best Christmas gift I received this year. Now, if I could only find my scissors. This bow won't budge!

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