Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sometimes Breaks Are Okay

Oh man, y'all, has it been a year.

After all of the frantic panicking and last-minute revisions that came with Pitch Madness, there was a sudden onslaught of silence as I waited to hear whether or not anyone wanted my book (no major updates there as of yet). I revised my short story for the first Polaris anthology (which I am SO excited about!), but it didn't take up enough time to completely fill the silence.

I love the book that is out with agents now, and it was hard not to think that this was the end of the road, as far as my good ideas go. And I think because of that, I let fears get the best of me. Anytime I tried to come up with a new idea, it was based solely on what I thought was marketable. What would an agent want if no one wants the book I really love?

What a terrible way of thinking about it!

I spent weeks plotting a middle grade idea that I didn't care about, and then another few weeks trying to plot an idea that I didn't feel ready to plot. It got me nowhere, obviously.

Oftentimes we hear the advice, "To be a better writer, you need to write every day," and for the most part I believe that. The more you write, the better you will get. But at the same time, I think it's important to know your limits. It came to a point where I was dreading trying to plot these new ideas, which isn't how writing normally goes for me. I love plotting. The ideas are flowing and it's all fresh and new. It's amazing!

Maybe you just don't want to be a writer anymore, my super-awesome-brain would tell me. Maybe you got it out of your system. Maybe if you take a break, you'll never come back to writing again and you can be a girl with no passions. That would be cool, right? No passion, no talent, nothing, nada, ZIP.

If your brain is telling you that, I would recommend telling it to shut the eff up.

Ultimately, I needed a break. I took a step back, read some books for fun, and you know what? A couple of weeks later, I had an idea that I'm crazy about. I'm still a writer.

You're probably not surprised by that solution, but it took me way longer than it should have to recognize what my brain really needed. So know your limits. If you need a break, take one. It won't make you less of a writer. You do love it, so you'll get back to it. You just need a minute to recharge your batteries.

And if anyone tells you otherwise, well...


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