Friday, 7 January 2011


I haven’t been present much in the blogosphere recently for a number of reasons. Along with my temperamental internet connection – which is hopefully fixed – I’ve been taking a small break from writing, editing and blogging in general. It won’t last for long. I’ve been better with checking my Google Reader, as earlier in the week I wasn’t keeping up to date at all. For my lack of comments on blogs I’ve missed, I’m sorry.

But I’m not sorry for taking a break. I’ve had a busy week returning back to work, going on a trip to the theatre, lacking sleep, and frankly, I’m exhausted. This weekend I’ll be able to finish editing Part Two and Three of Resisting Wonderland and send the MS to my first test readers. Then I’ll probably take another week or two off.

I need this break. I’ve been working almost continuously on the Resistance series since last summer. With the initial edits over for RW, and the first two drafts written, along with my side project that wasn’t planned until a month before I started working on it, I’ve spent a large amount of time in my MC’s world.

I need to escape. For a short while, I have to set myself apart from Alice’s world. I’m not tired of it at all, nor am I begrudging to work on the final novel - I can’t wait to work on it, as I’ve said many times in my blog. But if last year has taught me anything, it’s that I cannot keep rushing into projects. I already know that this novel may be difficult to write in places because it will be emotional; I already know I’ll have to manage a lot around it, and more sleep will go amiss; I already know I won’t be able to charge through it like I have some of my earlier novels. I’m expecting a lot from this project, and it isn’t something that can be written quickly, despite how much planning I’ve done for it.

Basically, I need time to prepare myself for jumping into my MC’s world. I’m going to be spending a lot of this year working on the series. At the moment I’m resting, not letting myself think too much about it, and simply enjoying the time I've granted myself off. You could say I’m building up my strength.

While writing isn’t something that is amazingly physical, there is a lot which can affect you. Being so immersed in a project isn’t an easy thing to try and balance with reality. The lines begin to blur. I end up spending half my time thinking about a project and another half actually working on it. I’ve come to expect that when I become deeply involved, and this novel will be no different – actually, I expect to be even more so.

Writing, while a great experience, can be draining. Knowing this makes no impact on how eager I am to begin; it only makes me realise that I need extra time to recharge. Neither creativity or endurance are things which are easily found. I may be impatient in some aspects of my personality, but this I cannot afford to be impatient about. My writing will only suffer for it.

I won’t hesitate to say when I’m beginning my next novel. You might even be able to guess in the tone of my blogs whether or not I’ve started, as I’ll constantly want to get back to it and spend all my free time working on it – which I know I can’t do.

Again, thank you to all the bloggers who commented on my No Kiss Blogfest post. It was the first time I had shown anything of my side project, and one of the first times I had ever shared my projects with anybody other than my writing partner. Your comments meant a lot, and I loved reading your feedback. Thank you all for being so kind and genuinely interested in my characters – it makes me incredibly happy to think other people care about them like I do.

On this subject, I'll ask: have you ever taken a break from a project, and if you have, why did you make the decision to do so?


  1. I take a break when it gets to be too much. I try not to because than it is harder to go back. But sometimes you just need to recharge your batteries, you know?

  2. I've never allowed myself to take a long break on projects, just because I know myself and I know I could get distracted and never return.

    I do give myself little days off though. That's about as much of a break as I'll allow. I figure a day off here and there is better than a week or two.

    My brain needs a break from pulling ideas out sometimes. It needs to recharge during a day of vegging out, and I'm all too willing to let it happen.

  3. When I've finished a first draft my head is full of the plot and characters and it's hard to make myself leave that story alone for a couple weeks before beginning a revision. I don't take total breaks; there's always another project I can move on to. There's a short story, a different novel in the works, a poem or maybe just some journalling waiting for me -- like changing my shoes, the change is as good as a rest. :)

    The only time I couldn't concentrate on my w.i.p. was during cancer treatment when my brain felt like cotton batten and my attention span was short. Then I wrote poetry or snippets in my journal. I also had a notebook where I made brief jottings of notes and ideas. I consider it all writing.

    That's not to say I don't need recharging sometimes. But an hour's walk in the woods with the dog, or sitting at the seashore reading something uplifting or encouraging is usually all it takes to regain my enthusiasm.

    When it comes to blogging I try to keep a reasonably regular schedule but I also write ahead of time so I have items on hand to pre-schedule when I'm going to be away or busy with other writing.

  4. Hmm, my breaks are usually forced--basically, I don't have time to write. BUT I stew. Sit on my plot, my scene, my characters. Sometimes great things happen during this time, sometimes nothing happens. What I do know is that when I do get a chance to write, I hit the ground running because I'm so excited to finally be back at it again :)

    I'm sure I'll need a break sometime, a legitimate one that I decide on my own, but for now I'm fine! :)

  5. Sonia: I can completely relate, its part of the reason I'm taking a break now. Although it may be harder to get back into it after being so unusually displaced from my project, I'm sure the wait is worth it in the long run.

    Devin: Returning to a project after being away for so long can be daunting. You just have to trust that you've invested enough in the project to want to continue when you return. I take a day or two off occasionally too. It's good to have a fresh perspective, and I don't think there's anything wrong with rewarding yourself after hard work! Even if it does feel like you shouldn't be :)

    Carol: That was exactly what I did last year. I'd skip from project to project, because while I knew I couldn't throw myself back into revision after immediately writing the first draft, I couldn't step away from writing as a whole. I agree, sometimes change can be just what you need to motivate yourself.

    I'm amazed you still managed to write and keep notebooks and poetry at what was sure to be a stressful time. I definitely consider it writing - even jotting ideas contributes to the process, as you can work on them later.

    Fresh air is one of the best cures for recharging. Music is also another wonderful tool to gain back creativity. Then I feel happier to sit down and work again.

    If it's an important post, such as my New Year's Resolution post, or if I don't have time to edit the post I've just typed out, I'll save and prepare them later. My blogging is similar to my own fiction writing - sometimes spontaneous, sometimes planned.

    Jessica: I've had the same problem. Sometimes, priorities matter. I wish they didn't, as mostly I try to put writing first. Life means this can't always happen. I'm exactly the same, if I'm removed from a project, the chances are it's usually on my mind, and I'm using the time to gather ideas. That eagerness to get back to a project can be one of the best things about forced breaks!