Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Guilt-Free Break

Ya know, there are days where writing is a breeze.  The ideas are there, the story line is flowing, your characters are practically tripping over themselves to get your attention first.  Those days absolutely rock!

Then there are the times when you're stuck.  Or the characters have suddenly turned cold-shoulder or they decide to do something that is completely ridiculous and you fight to reign them in.  Those days suck. 

Recently, I ran into several of these less-than-creative days.  Each day I'd sit down and struggle or moan and stamp my feet.  If I didn't write I'd feel guilty because I know I should have put something down, but I simply stalled out. 

I ran to a friend and gripped how the writing was not going well.  She suggested I simply take a "vacation."  Yes, just take a break.  Take a couple or few days and don't sit in front of a blank screen, don't try to think of any stories, don't struggle.  Don't write.  And don't worry about it; it'd be okay.

So I let myself back off.  I read without guilt that I should have been writing instead.  I enjoyed exhaustive time with my kids, I simply let go.  

It didn't take long.  Within a couple of days, the struggles I'd been having cleared right up.  But I didn't race off to the computer yet.  I forced myself, by this time, to leave off the writing for another day or two and I let the ideas, the voices, swirl around in my head until, like the little ball in a roulette game, the ideas settled down just where they were supposed to be.  At that time, I raced to get myself set up to type away.  And write I did, and am still doing.  

I tend to fall into the push I hear from every writer I admire:  write, write, write.  Although I subscribe to this philosophy, I've learned that sometimes I have to allow myself a slight adjustment:  write, write, write, break, write, write, write, break.

Every writer finds his or her own rhythms for good writing.  I'm glad I'm working on finding my own.