Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fallow Fields



Farmers leave some of their fields fallow every year to avoid depleting all the nutrients from the soil. Or they rotate what they're growing. (Says the girl from Alaska who plants most of her veggies in buckets and dumps the dirt every fall.)

I realized after I did two massive revisions for Hatshepsut that I've been writing or revising every day for over a year. All the creativity had been sucked from my brain.

So I haven't written or revised anything since the beginning of the month. It's taken three weeks, but I find myself actually wanting to write again. I'm holding off until after my birthday- the big 3-0 is coming up. Eek!

Do you ever take extended writing breaks? Do you find they help recharge your creativity or are they just an excuse to not write?


Image from Getty Images.

23 comments:

aspiring_x said...

LOL! just an excuse not to write!
just kidding, i took a break after to actually study up on the craft of writing, and to help critique other's work. i feel like what i learned has really helped me tackle my WIP with new zeal (and more of an idea WHAT in the world i'm doing)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Aspiring_x: I hope to follow in your footsteps! I've been considering starting Book #3, but Book #2 isn't done yet. I'm not sure what I'll tackle next!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I had a psychology professor who brought up the same analogy. He ended with "If even dirt needs a rest, how much more so does your mind?"

Mark Twain was of the same mind. See? You're walking in the footsteps of genius -- at least that's what his ghost is always calling himself!

Have a great, productive week, Roland

Lynda Young said...

I used to indulge in the breaks and they became too long. I ended up getting nothing done. But breaks are crucial. When I finish my current WIP first draft, I plan on taking a 2 week break from it. I'll probably write short stories in that time... or think up an idea for another book becaue I can't help myself ;)

Nicole MacDonald said...

Congrats you’ve won an award! Pop over to my blog to receive : )

paulgreci said...

I take breaks from specific WIPs to give me some distance. I also take bigger breaks but not for too long. I think my needs change over time and the important thing is recognizing when I need a break. It sounds like you have--good job!!

J. L. Jackson said...

I do think it is important to take breaks from your work. It does clear the mind and helps give you a better perspective.

Vicki Rocho said...

I didn't write much this weekend...but I was getting friendly with ywriter, so that is writing-related. I've not been doing this "seriously" for that long (less than a year) so I haven't really had time to burn out yet.

Jemi Fraser said...

We have to be careful not to overload. I think that's when we can end up messing up the writing more than helping it. Sounds like your brain told you you needed a break. I'm glad you're excited again :)

Summer Ross said...

sometimes its an excuse and other times I find more creativity will flow if I give my brain a chance to recoop.

Mark Noce said...

Depends on your personality:) If you tend to be proactive, def take breaks when you can, but if you like to procrastinate I'd suggest setting up a schedule of when to write and when not to write:)

VR Barkowski said...

When I'm writing, I have a desperate desire to revise. When I'm in edit mode, I have an overwhelming urge to write. The grass is always greener? :)

I'm always either revising or drafting new copy, though, and both are integral to writing. Given that, guess I'd have to say I don't take breaks.

Cynthia Reese said...

The only time I take breaks is when real life pushes in with catastrophes that steal my energy to write, like recently when I went through a personal crisis, and then on the heels of getting over that, my dayjob was eliminated. But today for the FIRST time, I was back at the revising, and man, did it ever feel good.

Happy 30th!

Amanda Sablan said...

Uh, I'd say it's a bit of both? It's been about four days since I've worked on my WIP but I'm relatively confident my creativity will be somewhat recharged, at least for the first half hour of writing. :]

Kittie Howard said...

I think writing is a profession that requires time off just like any other profession. But because writing's so personal and usually done at home, there's a perception that taking a break is slacking off. Not true!

And Happy Birthday, Stephanie. Oh, to be 30 again (but with the energy!!)

Amalia T. said...

I don't purposely take extended breaks from writing, but sometimes extended breaks from writing find me. It's never gone on for more than a month, and I'm usually revising something in a half-hearted way during the break-- distracted by some other project instead of working on new words. But getting back into writing is always a relief.

And I am sure you will make the big 3-0 the place to be :)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

It's always good to take a break. Recharge your batteries and then get back to writing those wonderful stories.

Taryn Tyler said...

I've never taken a full on break but that sounds like a good idea. Sometimes I feel like there isn't anything left in my brain. I do rotate though between manuscripts so I can let the fog of one piece clear out of my mind before I start an edit or a re-write.

Faith said...

My extended writing breaks usually start as a way to recharge, and then the next thing I know, I've gone a month without writing a darn thing. I haven't yet figured out why this phenomenon happens... I really wish it didn't.

But that's all right -- you'll pull back up and get writing in due time (and hopefully I will too!). :)

Natalie said...

Yes! I take a lot of breaks, probably too many. But I love that feeling of actually wanting to write and not just going through the motions because I know I should. I'm going to be 30 soon too. :)

Dawn Simon said...

I take breaks, but how long depends on what I'm doing. When I'm writing a first draft, small breaks are ideal; I like being so immersed in the story, I even dream about it. Same with when I'm doing final revisions. When I'm outlining, I like to write down thoughts and let them simmer, some days working for hours and some days not at all. At least that's how I've been with this WIP as well as my last one (though I'm not near final revisions on this one--I just started rewriting it, changing quite a few key elements!). I think we need to take breaks. Too long is dangerous, though, IMO. Re-entering a manuscript can be difficult and stressful.

I think it sounds like you really needed a long break. When I took a break from my last ms, it gave me fresh eyes I needed for revisions. I'm very wordy tonight, huh? ;)

30! OMG, I'm feeling old...

Medeia Sharif said...

I might take a week or two for a complete break.

Usually I take a break from a wip by working on something else. I'll put wip 1 aside to do the draft of wip 2, then return to wip 1 for revisions or edits, and then go back and forth. I can't work on any one thing for too long. The work becomes dull and dry in my eyes.

Walter Knight said...

Sleep is for wimps. So is food. Write 'till you drop.