Writing is hard.
I know I say that a lot, but it doesn’t make it untrue, it merely confirms the accuracy. Every stage presents its own challenges, some easier to overcome than others, but each one tricky nonetheless. It’s why I try to make every Friday an encouraging (and only slightly pushy) post to keep the faith, stay on track, and every one of those saccharine cliches you find on canvas prints in gift shops. Because you have to keep writing. You want to keep writing. The world needs your words.
But today is different. I’m going the opposite direction, people. Hang on, this may be a bumpy ride.
No, you did not step through a portal to an alternate universe (I’m not creative enough to write sci-fi/fantasy so that will never be an issue). I just told you not to write.
But… this is supposed to be inspirational! Meaningful! Validating!
Yes, yes, and yes.
However, my dear friends, sometimes the inspiration, meaning, and validation look different. And today it looks like this: Don’t write.
Give yourself permission to pleasure read. To find alternative outlets for creativity like cooking (yes, this takes creativity sometimes, shut up), floral arrangements, paper piecing, scrapbooking, puzzle building… you get my drift.
Am I saying to stop writing forever and give up your dreams and pursuits of an authorly career? No! Of course not! You have a gift that you need to share. Your day will come and all of this will be wildly worth the struggle.
But breaks are okay, essential even. Don’t let them last long and definitely don’t entertain the idea of them being permanent, but allow yourself to take them. Practice self-care always, but sometimes allow that to become the focus. Once you are rested and rejuvenated it will show in your stories. Your characters (yeah, those blankety blank people who scream at you) will eventually forgive you and understand why you needed the break.
And trust me, I get that the health, well-being, and happiness of your characters is an actual concern. I really, really do get that, but remember… they are reliant on the health, well-being, and happiness of their creator.
So, darlings, breathe. Find some interesting titles within your genre and read for pleasure… and also to find comparable works. Take a walk and drown in nature. Go to the mall and drink a sugary confection they claim is coffee and people watch. But whatever you do, allow your stories to rest, your characters to quiet, and focus on you.
Don’t write, but don’t give up.