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Old 11-12-2012, 11:25 AM   #1
spikywriter
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Hiatus from writing

Is it ok to take a hiatus from writing? I mean you work crazy hours, selling your soul, and not getting much recognition. Is it really worth it for long periods of time without a vacation?

For some people it's hard to write, so stopping is easy, but it is it hard to get back on the saddle after taking a vacation?

I really think that while they are necessary evil, they can be a stumbling block to your writing.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:54 AM   #2
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Is it ok to take a hiatus from writing? I mean you work crazy hours, selling your soul, and not getting much recognition. Is it really worth it for long periods of time without a vacation?

For some people it's hard to write, so stopping is easy, but it is it hard to get back on the saddle after taking a vacation?

I really think that while they are necessary evil, they can be a stumbling block to your writing.
In my house we call it "feeding the beast". Writing takes stuff out of you - sometimes it's good to focus on putting stuff in. I take a good long break between drafts. But I'm very disciplined - always 2hrs twice a day at a minimum when I'm writing and lots and lots of reading when I'm not.

Take your break with a clear conscience, grasshopper...
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:46 PM   #3
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Spikywriter,

.

I don't stop writing for long periods of time, but I do take vacations where I put my writing aside. I did take a break from creative writing when I was went to paralegal school and also completed by B.A., but I did a lot of academic writing.

If you need a break, take a break. If not don't. It all depends on what you want.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:49 PM   #4
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Absolutely. I think taking a break and stepping back from your work often provides clearer insight as to what's working and what isn't.

Don't beat yourself up for focusing on the other important things in your life! Good luck!
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:19 PM   #5
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Is it ok to take a hiatus from writing? I mean you work crazy hours, selling your soul, and not getting much recognition. Is it really worth it for long periods of time without a vacation?

For some people it's hard to write, so stopping is easy, but it is it hard to get back on the saddle after taking a vacation?

I really think that while they are necessary evil, they can be a stumbling block to your writing.
You can take a break, or never write at all. There is no law that says you ever have to write.

Honestly, if I believed for a second that I was selling my soul, I'd never write again. I don't understand that attitude at all. Writing should be fun, something you love doing, or why do it at all?

If you're writing for recognition, rather than writing because it's the way you most want to spend your time, then you may as well take a long hiatus.

Having said that, I do take a vacation twice a year. I take two weeks sometime during the summer, and stop from just before Christmas until after the New Year. Though this isn't as much a vacation away from writing as it is a vacation away form everything else life throws at me.

Refilling the well is fine. A vacation is fine. But it should be for a set time. It is hard to get back in the saddle.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:38 PM   #6
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I am just recently back from a year without writing (excluding academic papers).

I feel even more driven and confident. I have also found a shift in the genre I want to pursue. It was liberating to take a break, and return on my own time and initiative.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:58 PM   #7
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I'm staring an BA in February and I'm certainly scaling things back. Right now, I find reading books on Roman history books as 'fun,' over writing. I do write, but the marathons have become 2 hour evening jogs.

I can't help wondering if I had done the same in my first degree, that maybe I would have done a bit better than a good second-class.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:06 PM   #8
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With my current WIP, when I was writing the first draft my life was kind of crazy and at times weeks would go by between writing sessions, and I think the work really suffered for that--it was really tough to get back into it and to maintain a voice and coherent storyline and characters. I'm editing now and the first draft needed so, so, so much work, and I really wish I could/would have written more regularly without all those big gaps in the middle of the project. But I'm working on it almost every day now, and the WIP is coming along SO WELL now and I'm really enjoying the work now too. (My life is also a lot calmer and stable now, which also probably makes a big difference.)

On the other hand, I might take "breaks" in the sense that I'm not working on some big creative project but I am still journaling, so I am still writing regularly. I think it's very important to keep in practice, even if you are just doing the writing equivalent of doodles. The more you write the better you get and the easier it becomes and the more you like it. But if you're unhappy as it sounds like you are, a break might be good to get some perspective. Maybe writing isn't for you, or maybe you should explore a different genre.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spikywriter View Post
I really think that while they are necessary evil, they can be a stumbling block to your writing.
If I stop for an extended time, like a month or more, it's extremely difficult to get back in the groove. I generally have to discard the first stuff I write when I go back to it.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:00 PM   #10
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Breaks or vacations should be planned and of a set duration. That way you know when you'll be starting in again, and when, and you don't just keep putting it off.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:44 PM   #11
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I've taken breaks and it is tough to get bacj in the swing of things if it's too long. So make it a set time like 2 weeks, a month, etc. I agree with a previous poster that said you should enjoy writing. For me I love & can't imagine doing anything else with my life and when I took a break it was to read, either research or otherwise, which I feel in the end only made me a better writer.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:54 PM   #12
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Each person is different. People write for different reasons, and going on hiatus for a hobbyist is totally acceptable. If you're relying on your writing for income then a hiatus might not be viable. I'm a hobbyist and I've gone on hiatus for years and that works for me. It might not work for you, of course.

I think all forms of art struggle with this. Mccardey bought up a good point. Writing is a creative art, and all creative arts expend energy. Musicians go on hiatus. Actors go on hiatus. It's normal for creative people to need to recharge.

I think you should try your vacation and see what it does to you. You'll soon develop methods and tricks when it comes to jumping back into writing.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:57 PM   #13
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If anyone is feeling frustration about writing, or the writing life, or even wondering where it is all headed, perhaps some time off might be a good idea. But not for the immediate reason (a break). Maybe the ease or difficulty of a return after the break would be a good test of one's desire to write, to be able to handle the highs and lows of writing and of the writing life. Maybe it would be a good test to see if it's a desired career path (whether full time or part time).
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:33 AM   #14
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I'm on hiatus at the moment because I'm pregnant and my brain doesn't work properly anymore! Not sure when I'll get back on board, but I'm still subbing and have a few nibbles on the go, so it I'm hoping I have to get back into it because I've sold something!
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:54 AM   #15
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I didn't write anything creative for 5 years (2005-2010), but it didn't do me any harm, rather the opposite. The first story I wrote after my hiatus is still the best one I've ever written, imo.

So, in short: do what your heart tells you to
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:58 AM   #16
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I am currently on a short hiatus due to being bogged down with school work this week. (Thanks, professors, for the case, project, eight-chapter exam, and 20-30 page marketing plan you scheduled for the same week.) I don't like taking long hiatuses though. Writing is like any other skill. The less you do it, the more your current abilities start to degrade. (Granted, if you're wanting to wipe our your current writing style, not writing may actually help you.)
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:21 AM   #17
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I think an occasional break can be quite healthy. Writers face a lot of criticism and rejection with their work. This is good, because it helps a writer see the problems in a story and improve his craft. However, it can bog you down at times.

Common advice is to set down a piece of work and let it sit for some time before revising. Perhaps this is good advice for our brains as well. Taking a breather from the work can give us a fresh perspective and creative vigor.

That is, if you can take a break. If I am not working on a WIP, I end of writing ranting posts on the internet or angry letters to people.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:26 AM   #18
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Taking a break is a good thing. If you're not a full-time writer, you still have to pay the bills by doing something else, which could eat up a lot of time. You don't want to do so much that you burn yourself out.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:50 PM   #19
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I am one of those who never ever ever ever took a break, despite child care, a retarded-autistic son, husband working long hours, a full time job myself, a needy older parent ...

Until I did. I simply had to. I barely wrote this summer and, wow, I never thought I'd see the day I'd say that. I was constantly on visits to nursing homes, dealing with my mother (with dementia) and attending to my own health with a heart attack scare and blah blah ... (There are many others on AW who could top me with their many obligations, etc.)

Anyhow, I stopped writing in late June and am just picking it up again now. My goal is now, minimum, two hours a day, and I am taking it from there. A hiatus is sometimes the only thing that will preserve one's sanity, so if you need to take one, then take one. Make no apologies.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:58 PM   #20
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I e taken extended breaks from fiction writing. Shortly after my first son was born was the longest. Probably a few years. But I came back energized.

Now I'm finding I have a sort of seasonal clock. As the days get shorter and it gets folder I go into writin hibernation and when spring comes I'm renewed and excited to start writing again.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:51 PM   #21
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Taking too long of a break messes me up. I realized a few years back I must keep moving forward with my writing, with no more than a month off at the most. If I go past a month, it sort of throws me off my game. The ideas keep flowing, but the writing slips. Writing all the time, even a sentence or two a day, keeps me sharp.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:17 AM   #22
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... hiatuses aren't okay. Vacations most definitely are. I totally agree with you about the benefits of them. Whenever I take them I come back refreshed. Mine usually run between three days to two weeks. After a big project I most always take one. During that time I catch up on reading or go away somewhere. That's just my own experience though.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:46 AM   #23
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I sometimes take breaks after every chapter. Usually 1-3 days just to catch my breath and really flesh out the next chapter in my head. Honestly when I am not writing I am usually thinking of my story and fleshing out new ideas and plots. This is when some of my best work takes place, on breaks.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:20 AM   #24
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I find it hard to write when I'm not in the mood. I prefer to take 'mico-breaks' during the project, then between drafts i might take longer breaks. Though if I dont feel in the mood to work one day I just wont. You'd usually find me here talking about writing or playing some random computer game that involves NO writing. Iv'e found that a change is as good as a holiday when it comes to writing and this is not my ENTIRE life. Im not dependant on writing to make a living yet, so my outlook may change significantly as time goes by and I come to depend on it.

Short answer: If its hard to write today you probably shouldn't be writing today!
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:29 AM   #25
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Well, are you a dabbler or a career oriented writer? If you're just a dabbler, then I don't think it matters much. From what you have written here, it doesn't sound like you are currently enjoying writing, which would make you think you need a break--I've been there.

The key when that happens is learning how to enjoy the process of writing. Pick something you enjoy about writing and focus on that for a while. Eventually, you will feel inspired to continue writing.

Taking a hiatus for me, would depend on if I have reached a point where I was satisfied with my projects. You shouldn't be taking long breaks if you have not earned it, in my opinion.

I also would not recommend taking breaks often because it's like they say, "Use it or lose it." If you don't constantly hone your craft, then how can you say that you deserve to get better?

I don't 'Sell my soul' when I write or to get the approval and recognition of other people. My work with writing is my joy; I do it for the art of words.

In my experience, taking long breaks never amounted to much. It just made it that much harder to return to writing.
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