Author Toolbox Blog Hop: Not Breaking Because You Need a Break

Due to personal stresses, it has been difficult to find the time, the enthusiasm, or the energy to write the past couple months. Part of me dreads putting this post up, but struggling is part of the process and maybe sharing my personal challenges lately might help someone through theirs.

If you are like me, writing is a part of your life. I think about it most of the day. Even when bogged down in real life issues my mind wanders to my stories in the car rides to the store or while waiting for a call back with news from a family member on the latest in a series of crises. At the same time, it can be easy to shove aside a blog post or writing especially with only a self-imposed deadline looming. But the truth is if you are writing to be published, then it is a job. It is up to you to keep yourself motivated.

“Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.” ~Peter’s Laws

Usually, perseverance is not an issue for me. I am a goal-oriented person and can be persistent to a fault. Although I understand how people can get writer’s block, honestly, I have never suffered from it. I shift to another project or I write what I can even if it is only a sentence. Then I make sure to work harder on days when I have more motivation or inspiration.

Last month I pushed myself, but it didn’t feel like I pushed through.  On July 2nd I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, but for the first time ever I completely failed to meet my goal of writing each day. I probably squeezed in three days a week working on writing and a solid chunk of that was critiquing others’ work. I wrote only a handful of words (around ~300 toward my manuscript).  It was disheartening, but I also realized for that month it was the best I could do.

I still met with my writer’s group, my writing partner, and my critique group, even though on some of the days I just wanted to deal with the other things going in my life. I don’t have much to show for the month of effort. Far less than normal. But the truth is I did preserve and I will continue to.

Even though my daily word count was non-existent, I used group writing sessions for outlining. I spent the time between handling familial problems mentally going over issues in my writing I needed to work through. On days too stressful to work on my own writing, I read for inspiration and knowledge.

I needed to slow down for a moment and take care of my family, but that isn’t a failure. That is what it means to incorporate something fully into your life. It is just another step on the journey of being a writer. Not every day or month is going to be shining success. The important thing is to never let the feeling that you didn’t accomplish what you hoped stop you from accomplishing more now.

So far this month the trend has continued, but it is time to settle down and get back to some serious daily work. The issues going on in my personal life are far from over. It is still stressful and overwhelming. However, my focus is better. So it’s time to move forward on my writing once more. The first step is to get this post done and published even if I am not thrilled with it. Then keep working on my manuscript even if it is just a sentence or two because small progress is still progress. Writing is a business of perseverance. So I will persevere. I hope all those of you reading will too.

Never give up written on chalkboard


Photo Credits

Crushed Car by Tracy Lundgren

Chalkboard Never Give Up by Gerd Altmann

Learn more about publishing and craft by checking out other blogs in the monthly Author Toolbox Blog Hop created by the indomitable Raimey Gallant. Toolbox filled with writing implements

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By | 2017-08-14T13:31:31+00:00 August 14th, 2017|Writing|16 Comments

About the Author:

Writer, Software Engineer, modern-day Renaissance woman and eternal student

16 Comments

  1. Raimey Gallant August 15, 2017 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    I feel similarly about outlining. It’s hard to see it as progress, but it’s such a needed step, and I have to remind myself that even on days when I’m not writing anything, I’m rolling ideas around in my head, and only when they’re clear to they get written down. Sometimes with a really difficult plot problem, I’m churning that idea for a week, and when I finally figure it out, it’s amazing, and I plug it into my outline. Anyway, this post is definitely helpful for me, because I feel super unproductive during the outlining phase, in terms of word count achieved.

    • Erika Timar August 16, 2017 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Yeah after I wrote this I took a look at what I had done and I realized that it will probably really help with my writing not only this month but through the completion of my first draft. It just isn’t as shiny as word count in the WIP though.

  2. Anna August 16, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Hang in there, but you might need a rest. Take time off and let yourself breathe.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    • Erika Timar August 16, 2017 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anna. The turmoil of wanting to write and move forward versus the need to take a step back and breath can be really challenging sometimes. Last month I tweeted a quote from Marie Lamba where she said that writers should be kinder to themselves. I think that is kind of where this post came from. I realized I needed to take a moment and be kinder to myself.

  3. Kristina Stanley August 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Everyone needs time off – even if it’s from something they love to do. Sometimes I write a lot, other times not so much. Good luck with your writing.

    • Erika Timar August 16, 2017 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks. Sometimes it is hard to give myself permission to take time off. I worry that one day will spiral out into a week or a month. But you’re right, everyone needs some time off.

  4. Victoria Marie Lees August 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Some days, Erika, baby steps forward are the only kind we can make in our WIP. Chin up, my dear. You are a special person in so many people’s lives. You and your family are in my prayers.

    • Erika Timar August 16, 2017 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      Very true. Sometimes when life is overwhelming it is difficult to keep things in perspective. In writing this is helped me to see that I had accomplished more than I initially thought last month. Thanks for your kind words and prayers.

  5. Dawn Byrne August 16, 2017 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this uplifting post. Needed it.

    • Erika Timar August 16, 2017 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      Your welcome, Dawn. I am glad it could help you.

  6. Joan Curtis August 16, 2017 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Hi Erika, you shouldn’t beat yourself up for taking a break. Look at Roger Federer! He took off 6 months and has come roaring back. Even athletes take time off. (Of course, he had an injury, but…). I wrote a blog post on this. I’m including it just in case you want to see that some of the greatest writers took time away from the craft. Just churning out words every day will not a good writer make. It’s balance. And, knowing when you’re ready, you’ll start again.

    http://joancurtis.com/a-time-to-work-and-a-time-to-rest/

    • Erika Timar August 16, 2017 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      I will definitely check the post out. Thanks so much.

  7. Fanni S August 16, 2017 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I also failed Campnano (although I’ve never won it so it’s not much of a surprise), but I tried to find joy in the words that I did write. I failed the two most recent Nanowrimos as well after having won the first two I’ve ever tried. First I felt frustrated, but I had to accept that my life has changed, I’m not a university student anymore etc. and I tried not to beat myself up about it. So happy writing and never give up :3

  8. Erika August 16, 2017 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this lovely piece of inspiration. I have been struggling the past few months with my own writing, and have never experienced writer’s block either, but what I have experienced is a distance from my writing because of stress and heavy deadlines. I know I will get back on track though. I wish you the best Erika 🙂

  9. Ronel Janse van Vuuren August 17, 2017 at 1:26 am - Reply

    “Then keep working on my manuscript even if it is just a sentence or two because small progress is still progress. Writing is a business of perseverance. So I will persevere.” That’s very inspiring, Erika. Thanks for sharing 🙂 And good luck!

  10. Louise August 17, 2017 at 6:57 am - Reply

    It can be hard to write when other stresses and worries creep in, and it’s definitely okay to take a step back and break for a while.
    I hope that the stresses in your personal life ease off soon. Good luck with your manuscript, and if you aren’t already a part of it, check out #turtlewriters on Twitter. We’re all slower writers who support each others progress and cheer each other on 🙂

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