Monday, May 18, 2015

On Writing Breaks

Watermans, Paris.
Flickr Credit: Lee Morley
There are some people who write every day, and to them I say: kudos. I am not like you.

There have only been a few times in my life when I’ve been able to write every day, and that was usually in a typing-up-editing phase, and it was good. But for me, at least, I don’t really like writing every day—I like being a writer every day, but not writing.

Some days I focus on blogging, and I get through my to-read list (like I just did! *fist pump*), and then I spend time writing posts to schedule for the next week (as I am now). Blogging does take a few days for me, because even though I’m writing this post now, on Friday, I will be closing the document and not revising/scheduling until tomorrow. And, of course, there’s commenting to be done, and other housekeeping things.

Some days I focus on reading/watching TV. I am like, that one person who basically sees reading and watching TV as equivalents. That may not be what it’s like for you, but for me, reading and watching are basically the intake of details, and man, there are so many details to attend to. I recently asked my best friend if she has other friends who send her thousand-word rants about the latest book/movie watched, and she said no, but that’s why I’m her best friend.

And, of course, other days I actually write stuff. Which is hard, because there’s various stages of drafting and editing that all have to be coordinated and it’s like noooo but you must because that is what writing is.

The last one is kind of the important one—the one that I have to do if I want to be a writer, and it is hard. Over the last week, especially. I mean, for one thing, my grandmother died—there haven’t been a lot of tears around here (to clarify: it’s not that I don’t care; I feel like I already grieved for her death previously, and now death seems to have become the perfect resolution), but there’s a lot of things to be done when someone dies. And the basement flooded.

I don’t know if you have ever had to go get toilet paper when you have run out. It’s a pretty standard operation, even when one has stayed up until midnight and is creeping around by herself in the basement. But I assure you: everything changes when you step into a puddle of ice-cold water, and realize it is stretching all the way to the back wall.

My parents have never been so grateful that I’m a night owl, and we did stop a lot of the damage, but after heavy rain, it looks like we’re going to be renovating our entire basement to put in sump pumps and everything.

The good news is: hopefully we will prevent flooding.

The bad news is: I have to pack up all of my things and put them into storage, because the basement is where my room is. But, on the bright side, maybe we’ll repaint my room.

Also, I went to an awards ceremony at school yesterday and not that it was a bad thing but it was like, three hours long, and yes, I very much enjoyed some of the benefits of being a good student, but you can’t write at the same time as getting awarded stuff. You can’t.

So, the last couple weeks have been filled with a lot of not-exactly-writing. And I’m okay with that. I do not feel guilty or upset. What I do feel is that, now that things are settling down, it’s time to get started again. To all my Word documents: here I come.


How do you decide what you want to do as a writer in a day? When do you decide to give yourself a break?

18 comments :

  1. Whew, your life has been crazy. I hope everything clears up for you soon. I like what you said about not writing every day, but still being a writer every day. There is a lot more to writing than actually writing. Before you can capture emotions and adventures onto paper, you have to experience them in your life or in your mind.

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    1. It has. Thanks, Susanna! Experiences are just as important as writing things down, I think, and sometimes I think we can miss what was important trying to be meticulous and artsy. :)

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  2. I try to write every day, but I also try not to beat myself up if I don't--like you said, stuff comes up. Plus, I feel like I'm gathering inspiration all the time, whether I'm physically writing or not. I hope things settle down for you soon!

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    1. Beating yourself up isn't an effective way to deal with things, after all! You're right; we do gather inspiration from these things, and as Susanna says above, we need to experience things to be good writers! :D Thanks!

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  3. It depends on whether I've set a goal for a particular time period -- I take breaks between beta rounds and such, but when I have goals, I always set them so that I have to write every day to reach them. It still always takes me longer than expected.

    Sorry to hear about the ups and downs of your life - hopefully it all gets resolved soon!

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    1. I need to work on setting goals. I am good at goals when I think to make them but usually I don't. I'm still in that "hobby" phase of writing, I'm afraid. :P Things to work on!

      Thanks! :)

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  4. I don't write every day. It usually comes in spotaneous bursts of energy. I don't even write regularly (but that's okay because writing is not my dream). I hope everything gets sorted out in your life :)

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    1. That's okay—for some of us, writing as a hobby is enough, and that should be good enough. Thanks, Jo!

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  5. :) I'm more the kind of person who aims to write every day, not to show off or anything, but because I need to. I get really really antsy and confused when I haven't written in a while, like I don't quite know where I am. (This may qualify as a condition. :P) But I have many writer friends who can't/would rather not write every day, and I say good on them. And I'm sorry about your grandmother, but I understand. I think I felt the same way when my grandfather died two summers ago--sad that it had to happen, that death happens, but I'd already lost him in many ways years before that. And ick, also sorry about your basement/room. Our house floods a lot, so I know part of your pain. But that must really suck to have your room down there. I think I'd be freaking out. (Also, with reference to the cake tag--I'm going to be doing it this Wednesday after all. And on a completely unrelated note, if you do read Steven James's THE PAWN, I would love to hear your opinion as I am the only one I know who has ever read it.) I hope you get your house sorted out soon!

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    1. Ooh, I see. I'm not like that—or, if I am, I think it's when I don't want TV. If I go for a couple weeks without just vegging out in front of the TV, I start to feel antsy and unrelaxed. Still, I think it's good for you—you have the chance to be a very productive writer! :D And thanks for your words on your grandfather. I feel the same way—it isn't really a matter of losing the body but losing the person. I look forward to seeing your cake tag, and THE PAWN is on my reading list. I shall get there soon!

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  6. Oh, I can relate to this! Other than blogging, I haven't really written much lately. I think I'm supposed to feel guilty, but I strangely don't. Life is kinda chaotic and busy now, so writing had to take the backburner because it's something I prefer to do when I'm focused and in a restful mood.

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    1. I think you have to realize that there are priorities, especially around now. I mean, yes, writing is important and should be a priority, but there are things in our lives that prevent us from keep moving forward. Sometimes it's better to wait until we get to where we must be. I hope you get back to a focused and restful mood soon! :D

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  7. I love the idea of writing every day, but in practice... Not so much. I think writing is a demanding hobby - it's hard not to be cognitively engaged as you string a sentence together - and some days... my brain just doesn't have the energy. For me, writing isn't a priority. My work, my boyfriend, my blog, my health, ALL come before writing. In an ideal world that wouldn't be the way but right now, it is, and I just have to deal with it.
    Beth x
    www.thequietpeople.com

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    1. Writing is definitely demanding—it takes a lot of brain power, and it's not something you can do half-asleep. (Or, if you do it half-asleep, you're going to end up doing a lot of rework!) But, as you say, we all have priorities, and sometimes we have to prioritize things differently. I don't think that's a bad thing!

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  8. I'm with you when it comes to writing breaks. I have so many things in my life that I want to focus on, but if I try to do them all at once everyday, I can only make small steps on each one, and that can become discouraging. I prefer to designate different tasks to different days so that I can see more progress and feel more motivated. I've also found that separating my tasks improves the depth of my work. Also, I'm really sorry that your grandma died. That must be tough. Oh, and flooded basements are a nightmare. *does not want to think about that time the basement flooded and there was lots of hauling water out by bucket because even the backup sump pump didn't work*

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    1. That's the thing—I feel like I can either make big steps by working on one thing, or working on little steps with little things, and I don't like either of those options. *sigh* Separating tasks seems like a good idea, though. I need to come up with those ideas to focus on things. Thanks for your condolences—we're doing okay, though. And, that sounds terrifying... *shudders* I hope when we get sump pumps they work always.

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  9. I usually try writing 5 times a week, but lately I've been feeling inspired with many of the books I have read - I like taking writing breaks in between as well, I usually watch movies or shows on netflix and two days later I should be okay with writing. Great post overall! <3 Benish| Feminist Reflections

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    1. Well, that's not so bad, seeing as how reading helps us write better! Writing breaks are awesome, with movies and Netflix and everything. Thanks for stopping by, Benish!

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