Take a Break

Sometimes writers need to take a break. This essay looks at why you should let yourself if you need to.

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I love writing—I always have and I always will. But there does come a time when that love starts changing into something else. Apathy, boredom, pure hatred at times—pick any negative emotion and you can say that I’ve felt that about writing. That’s why I’m a very big advocate of taking a break from writing from time to time.

If you don’t, you can end up in the middle of this cyclic pattern that’s very hard to free yourself from. You are unhappy with writing and with what you produce. You look at yourself, or ask for critique and the feedback isn’t this is the best thing that’s ever been written. This not only reinforces your initial idea but also strengthens it. And the cycle continues, getting worse on each trip. This is where taking a break comes in. It stops the cycle and allows you to take a different path. Maybe you have something going on in your life that is taking a lot of your emotional energy and you need to let yourself recharge. Maybe you just have too much stuff going on and you need to focus on something else. Allowing yourself the opportunity to deal with these things and get back into a positive pattern with writing will help you in the long term.

If I take a break, I won’t ever start up again! I hear you say.

Poppycock.

I could tell you that writing is in your blood and you’d never be able to stop completely. I could point out that you’re reading an essay on a site dedicated to writing. I could say dozens of things, but I think that’s what a lot of people say, and I want to suggest something different.

Is the alternative any better? Let’s say that you do take a break and end up giving up forever. The alternative is that you don’t—you keep going in this cyclical, growing pattern of self-hatred until it can’t get any worse and you give up anyway. Except, in this instance, you stop at a point where you detest writing, you hate the quality of what you’re writing, and you’re happy to see the back of it. Of those two, I know which I’d prefer. And I do speak from personal experience. I got to a point where I hated my writer self, my writing, and—to be perfectly frank—I was looking to expand my friendship circle and the internet said finding people with similar interests was a good way to do this. Writing was the only hobby I had, so my only reason that I even pretended to write anymore was so that I could meet new people. If I had any other hobby I would have thrown writing away, burnt it all, and never looked back.

So my parting message is this: don’t let yourself hate writing. Take a break. You’ll thank yourself later and your writing will be better for it.

David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.

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