It’s okay to stop

Last week, Jen talked about saying “no” and that it was okay to do so. The other week I talked about rewarding yourself for your accomplishments. Today I’m gonna expand on that idea. Yes, you can tell people you don’t have time for the many things you’re asked to do, but on the same side, it is okay to let yourself stop.

download (1)As writers we’re always under pressure. Projects need to be started, need to be finished, need to be polished. There’s always some deadline looming, even if just self-imposed. When I’m in the  middle of a project, I try to write every weekday and on each of those days I have a word count I try to reach. On this particular project, I want to be done with it by the beginning of October so I’ve imposed a 3k day goal.

And for the first two and a half weeks, I was doing great. Week one, 15k. Week two, 30k. writingAnd then I hit 40k in the middle of week three and I hit a wall. I have a very detailed outline that is helping me get through this as quickly and painlessly as possible, but sometimes that doesn’t matter. That last day that I hit 40k was like pulling teeth and even then I was behind schedule because life got in the way. And then I woke up Friday morning, knowing I had a book publishing today, and I just couldn’t look at my computer. To catch up I’d have to write 4k (though I hit 40k, I did push to 41k), or write some on Saturday. I didn’t want to do either. I just wanted to sit and relax. So I did.

Friday I managed to get my morning cardio photo 1 (4)in but then I made myself a latte and sat my butt on the couch. I turned on that week’s Project Runway and I just watched the show while I sipped my coffee. It was glorious. And for the rest of the weekend I relaxed. Sure, there were a couple of errands that needed doing, but otherwise I just relaxed. There was a tiny part of me that felt a little guilty, but I knew that I needed that decompression, it would benefit me and the book in the long run. Now, Monday morning, I’m ready to get back to the book and get my words done.

You deserve a break, remember that. And when you’re your own boss, there is no one around who is going to check to see if you’ve taken your mandatory vacation days for you, so make sure you do it. You. Deserve. It.

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5 thoughts on “It’s okay to stop

  1. …I felt so guilty seeing that Neil face on my WP wall that I was like ‘I know, Gaimaneister, I know.”

    I find that when I reach 30k in any project, I tend to slow-slow-stop. I’m currently working on pushing through that right now with my first fantasy novel manuscript, so this post is relevant to what I’m going through. Saturday, I spent the whole day being frustrated and trying to force (quality) words to keep up with my word-count goals. Sunday, I chose to take a break and play Skyrim for the day. A few hours in, I found myself wanting to get back to writing because I had a number of ideas that I wanted to implement. I’m starting to realize that I have my best writing momentum when I ‘Play Hard’ and balance working hard with playing just as hard. I also give myself regular meditation/rest breaks to reset, which I’m more used to doing and have found that it doesn’t really influence my momentum, but give my eyes a fresh perspective when I return to the work instead.

    Great continuation on Jen’s thoughts, Thanks for sharing.

    1. Shauna Granger

      Gaimaneister, that is awesome.

      Yes. The mushy middle. It is the bane of my existence. I can charge through 30-35k words like no one’s business and then hit the last 25k like a bull on a tear, but that middle? Those 30-20k words in the middle just kill me. I feel like I’m trying to scoop quicksand from one pit to the next. Which is probably why I had to take a break this weekend.

      It’s good you escaped into a different fantasy world that didn’t demand anything from you. We all need it. We need to see other’s creative worlds and ideas to refill our wells. Good job!

      1. Ha, scooping quicksand, that’s exactly what it feels like.

        Yes, I find skyrim is great for that kind of escape, especially with PC mods because then unique, user-created content can be added to the original game by expanding the world to explore even further.

  2. I think that Neil Gaiman picture might negate the rest of the post… *stares guiltily at word processor*

    This is so true. I tend to write a lot slower and more erratically than a lot of writers I know, and I often feel guilty when I’m not producing really regularly. But it’s definitely important to know when to listen to your own rhythms and not try to push something that’s not coming easily.

    Congratulations on your book birthday!

    1. Shauna Granger

      Haha, I know right? But I hear that phrase in my head whenever I take time off during a project.

      I’ve been changing up my writing routine lately and it’s been a little weird, but feels good and I’m getting results. We have to remember that there is no one way and as long as we’re proud of our work, that’s all that matters.

      And thank you! 😀

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