The Case for a Break

This is really weird you guys.

I am NOT writing. I’m taking a break, actually.

I know. You can tell me I’m a terrible writer because a writer writes every day, or you can welcome me to the dark side, whichever. It doesn’t matter, because I’ll still be just as anxious about it, and I’ll still stick to my guns.

No writing until November 1st.

The reason I’m not writing is that I’m doing National Novel Writing Month. In this wild venture, I will create 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30, and they will be imperfect and disconnected and miserable in some places, but they will exist and I will have the better part of a novel on my hands. (If you’re doing Nano, let’s be writing buddies! my username is JamieAdams.)

I know myself and my writing rhythms. And what I know about those rhythms is that I can write a whole lot for a long time, but when I run out of words I’m really, really done. Anything beyond that is going to be horrible, and if I push that hard it might be a month before I’m ready to write again.

Needless to say, it’s miserable when it happens and especially miserable would be having it happen in the middle of the year’s biggest push. So, despite feeling strange and lazy and like I really should be writing, I will not type a fictional word until November 1st.

In the meantime, I’m plotting and planning and exploring my characters. I’m reading excellent books, getting ahead on November’s homework, exercising, cleaning the  apartment before it reaches landfill status, watching an entire season of What Not to Wear, making cookies and brownies in mugs, and sleeping in twelve hour stretches.

In other words, I’m recharging and refilling so that, when I do sit down to write, I have everything I need to take myself and, maybe, a someday reader on a wild journey.

Have you ever deliberately taken a break? If you haven’t, what’s stopping you from allowing yourself a chance to rest? If you have, what did you feel was the greatest benefit of the break?

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