1. jim79
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    jim79 Member

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    having to take a break from writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jim79, Dec 20, 2012.

    Hi there,

    I've been writing on and off for about five years, wrote a book and half a dozern stories but I keep on having problems with keeping relaxed after writing. I plan out the stories as best as I can: write out a rough plot, the characters and their motivation. but for the rest of the day I keep on thinking, how can I change this, how can I change that etc and actually ended up with having a couple of panic attacks because of it.

    While I love writing I dont know that its worth worrying myself over it so much and am thinking of either taking a short break or giving it up for ever.

    does anybody else suffer with these kind of problems and if they do how did you get around them?

    Thanks,

    Jim
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Hi Jim,

    I too plan out my stories, but not too much in case I lose interest in the plot and characters. If you are a writer at heart then I have to say, you will be thinking about books, writing, and ideas for a LOT of the time, just like I do (;)). But even though I think about my books a lot, that doesn't stop me from doing and thinking other things, too - I have plenty of other hobbies such as painting, playing videogames, and being a nutter! What I'm trying to say is that if you really are thinking about your plots and characters all the time, then perhaps you should take up a hobby to take your mind off it.

    And of course, if that doesn't work, then yes, take a short break. Take half a year off if you want to. But if you are a true writer you'll never stop writing: you'll just delay it! :p

    Hope I helped,

    Thomas

    P.S. Don't get panic attacks from it, just appreciate that you are thinking about changing and editing your book, and that means you care about writing, and that you WANT to write that book. Also, how old are you (not trying to be weird here)? You don't have to tell me, but the younger you are, such as a teenager, the more stressed you'll be about little things, so just wait it out and you'll be okay. :)
     
  3. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I have taken short breaks from my writings in fact i am taking a short break from writing right now and i plan to get back to it when the new year begins.
     
  4. Hambone
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    Hambone Member

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    Nothing wrong with taking a break at all. Like Thomas said, if you are a true writer, you will never stop.

    I had problems for awhile thinking too much about what I was writing. I had to learn how to switch gears. I work construction and am in dangerous situations sometimes, I cannot afford to be daydreaming about where I want my current writing project to go. I have learned to switch gears and it works. I think it actually gives me more of a fresh perspective when I go back to the project I am on.
     
  5. jim79
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    jim79 Member

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    Thanks for the advice guys. I think that I'll take a little breather and hopefully come back stronger and not get to wound up with trying to make it all perfect on the 1st draft.

    As for a hobby my wife has suggested that we start to make a patchwork quilt together to take my mind off things :rolleyes:
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sounds like a very good plan... listen to your wife!

    you're lucky to have such a supporting one, so count your blessings...

    love and calming hugs, maia
     
  7. johann77
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    johann77 Member

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    You may want to take a year off from writing.

    I break away from writing when I'm writing. I'll write 3 or 4 pages, then take at least a day off. Or just what I feel. I think you were pushing your self. I know when I push myself I get tense and my writing goes down hill. Not writing is just as important as writing.
     
  8. ZDavid
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    ZDavid New Member

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    Jim,

    I took just around four years off from writing (basically, anyway-- I think I wrote three short things during that whole time) and it was of the best decisions I've ever made. IMO, all art forms should be a cathartic experience. When it comes to a time that not only are you not getting relief from writing, but it's causing excess problems, then I think it's really time for a break. Do you need four years off? No, probably not. I do think, though, if you're getting panic attacks over your writing then perhaps you need a longer break than just a week or two. I wouldn't have taken so much time off if it weren't for circumstances, but what can you do? Life gets in the way. The reason I began the break in the first place was for a very similar one to you.

    You know what that break did for me? It refreshed me. Even better, it rejuvenated me. When I finally came back to writing, I realized how much I had missed it. I realized that I could never bear to take so much time off again. By extension, I knew that from that point forward I had to be more aware of how my writing may be affecting me negatively, so if there comes a time when I'm reaching the end of my rope, I can take a much needed short break on the order of a week or two so I'm not forced to let it go for another four years.

    As everyone else has said, if you are meant to write, then you will always write. A break is the best thing you can do in a situation like this. I can almost promise you will come back feeling 100% better, you will come back as a stronger person, and you will come back better in touch with yourself and your limits. Don't worry about a thing. There's pen and paper that will always be there waiting for you when you're ready to return.

    Like I mentioned before, I have struggled with panic attacks for the past 8+ years of my life, including many over my writing as well. If there's anything I can do for you that you think would be helpful, even just chat, please don't hesitate to PM me. I think I've made it clear that in my opinion you definitely need a break, but I am happy to share some coping mechanisms for a time when you are ready to get back on the horse.
     
  9. FirstTimeNovelist91
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    FirstTimeNovelist91 Senior Member

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    I take periodic breaks here and there. Heck, my first "novel" that I wrote was when I was 9/10 years old and while I have had some articles published and some short novels, I haven't had a second novel until just recently, at the age of 21 (imagine that!).

    Even now, I take a couple weeks break here and there. I find that trying to force the creative juices just doesn't work, but I do make some reasonable deadlines (some I make, some I don't).
     
  10. Hambone
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    Hambone Member

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    1st drafts are not meant to be perfect. I also used to worry about my first drafts. I think in the back of my mind I was worried that someone would find it and read it. I've gotten over that. Now I just let it fly on the first draft, and worry about cleaning it up later.
     
  11. Gavin Hetherington
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    Gavin Hetherington New Member

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    I find taking breaks most relaxing for the brain and helps refresh you. For me, I began writing my first draft between November 2009 - February 2010, my second draft March 2010 - April 2010, but both of those drafts I didn't complete as I felt they were heading in the wrong direction. The third draft took me from May 2010 to May 2011 as I took my time writing it, taking regular breaks between writing chapters and it was the much better draft of the three. I completed it and I felt I had a good story but after revisiting it after a couple of months I found that it could be stronger. The fourth draft which I am currently working on I began in June 2012.
     
  12. jim79
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    jim79 Member

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    I think that being able to shift gears and be able write without constantly thinking "is this ok, what about this, what would people think etc etc?" is the key to be able to write well and its somthing i'll work on after i've had a break
     
  13. johann77
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    johann77 Member

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    If you keep working on anything. Irrelivent to what it is. Writing , studying or any task that has to do with concentration, then with out fail the mind will become dull and not function well. the mind wasnt ment to work on one thing over and over again. The mind has to take a break just like a person has to take a break after walking a great distance, or working hard phsyically. It just cant keep going.

    When taking breaks, you have to get your mind off of writing completely and have it off of writing completely for a period of time. Each time is different for how long your mind has to be off of writing. If you dont take breaks , then expect to work far harder than you usally do and have less results that your happy with. Also expect anxiety attacks.

    You have to take breaks untill the mind is rested, there is no choice in the matter.
     

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