1. jnk1296
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    jnk1296 Member

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    Taking time off from writing...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jnk1296, Jul 6, 2011.

    OK, so I've been trying to write my first novel, and it's been going well enough, as I've managed to get to the fourth chapter. But lately, I haven't been working on it at all. I don't know if it's just because I'm stuck on a specific scene, or if I'm losing interest. The last time I worked on it was two weeks ago.

    I'm worried because I have a track record of starting things and not finishing them. I work on something, anything really, for as long as a month, and then lose interest and never touch it again. Although I feel this is different, I'm worried that it's not. I've worked on this for about two months now, and not a day has gone by yet that I haven't thought about it in some respect, whether it be a specific scene, or just the story in general. Still, I don't know if that's enough to keep me from losing interest.

    My question is, is it normal to take moderate periods of time off from writing a book? Has anyone else done this? The last thing I want is to lose all my work due to lack of interest, but lately I've been having a hard time finding the motivation to actually sit down and work on it.
     
  2. NikkiNoodle
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    NikkiNoodle Active Member

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    Yep. For me, at least. Since I am a stay at home mom there are times when I am so busy with Cub Scouts or Baseball or just chasing my 3 year old around that I can't get up the engergy to sit and pound the keyboard. All of that not withstanding, there area also times when the story just comes to a stop and I have to remove myself for a while so inspiration can hit or I just need to let the scene sit so I can move it forward without things seeming forced.

    There have been a couple of incidents already (I'm about 51,000 words in) when there was a plot point I couldn't figure out and had to just put it off and then all of a sudden BAM! It hits me and I have the perfect way to resolve things and I sit down in an exctasy of creativity and write a few thousand words without stopping.

    Whew! All of that just to say that for me (and it might not be this way for all writers) writing is an organic process and sometimes the novel just takes time to grow :)
     
  3. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    For me, it's normal. If I lose interest or get blocked, I take a few days or two weeks off. No use in writing when everything's blocked. Breaks let my creativity replenish. :)
     
  4. flipflop
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    flipflop Senior Member

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    Personnally i would just set a really low word limit per day but keep adding to it. Jump scenes a bit. Just do 100 words or something but keep writing a little bit per day eventually you will get back into it
     
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  5. another wasted day
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    another wasted day Member

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    I sometimes take weeks off, although I usually never return to the story. I think it's much better if you can try to add at least a sentence a day, or anything really, to prevent loss of focus.
     
  6. Daydream
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    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeh I like to take of time too. I know people say you should have a deadline and work on it everyday, but I think that would effect how good my writing is. It's nice to take a break and then return nice and refreshed! As they say...absence makes the heart grow fonder! :D
     
  7. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    ^Nicely worded.

    Taking breaks is the healthier thing to do, especially when you think you're losing steam. Your break can range from a few hours to years, although I don't think you'd want to stretch it for that long.

    Then again, maybe you shouldn't take my advice. I've been trying to finish a project for almost five years now and I still didn't get it done ;_;
     
  8. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Whenever I try to force my writing, I end up having to delete or rewrite it. Breaks are healthy. Forcing writing doesn't work well for me.
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I agree with this. Flipflop and I may be dissenters here, and I can completely see the view that forcing scenes isn't good - and you should never force an entire scene that's not coming to you just because you think it'll be bad.

    But do write SOMEthing, even just one sentence. It might turn into a paragraph, and part of a scene. Or, if you are totally stuck, you could go back and make little improvements to what you've already done. Definitely don't feel like you have to crank out 1,500 words every single day, but I think if you "take a break" it's much easier for the project at hand to slip away.
     
  10. jnk1296
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    jnk1296 Member

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    Duly Noted. I shouldn't force a scene, though I do feel that a little bit of force is necessary to get moving on the story again, so I'm going to do something different come tomorrow (technically when I wake up later today, considering that it's 3:00am right now, lol). I'm going to unplug the internet, open up the story where I left off, and not give up until I actually have something written.

    Oh, and i will definitely be doing the 100 words per day idea. Progress is progress after all!

    Thanks for the feedback and advice. That's one thing I've noticed and liked about this forum. On most forums, you're lucky if you get more than two replies, but here, you can get pages of them!:D
     
  11. GunGrave TZA
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    GunGrave TZA Member

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    I think this tends to be the case for most writers. I have a sort of rush of creativity, write about 10-15 pages in an hour or two, the suddenly lose interest in writing. So take as much time as you need, then when you have an idea or are up to writing again continue your novel. :)
     
  12. elneilio10
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    elneilio10 Member

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    The block gets us all at some point or other in the end! ;)

    Got to say I thoroughly recommend the odd small break.

    By break though, I don't think I'd leave it completely (unless I'd reached the decision that it was a pile of poo).

    There must always be something you can do to (indirectly?) work on it? Consider your characters more (and character profiles if you're developing any away from the MS proper). Then, as already noted, why not jump from scene to scene?

    You don't have to start at page 1 and religiously work your way to the last sentence. Especially, if it's hurting to do so!!! As long as you're sufficiently well organised, writing in chunks and then binding them together could help you get going again.

    Good luck. :)
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    if it's the first draft and you had to take a break from it after 4 chapters I'd say either you lack commitment or the story doesn't grip you too much. Maybe a combination of the 2? It is perfectly understandable if you have been working on it for a very long time and feel stuck for some reason, but try and understand why exactly you don't want to write it anymore. If you really believe in it and WANT to finish it then just try and be more disciplined, but if you don't feel as strongly for it or it's a period in your life when other things are more important than writing just go ahead and take that break.
     
  14. jnk1296
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    jnk1296 Member

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    W00t!

    And so I continue!

    After thirty minutes of debating, i finally got back to work! All it took was to write the scene I was stuck on in a different way and order! After that, it all came back to me! :D

    Now I've got the fourth chapter (draft) finished, and I'm starting my fifth!

    Again, thank you all for the advice! Maybe this was a block and I just didn't realize it?
     
  15. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Creative writing is definitely an endeavor - a gruelling one sometimes even. Normally my enthusiam for my pieces carries me through, but if I slave away on it too long I can start to lose steam and interest. Burnt out maybe.

    Worse though, is the loss of perspective that can come with being immersed in the creation of a work of art for too long in one bout. That's the main advantage with taking a break for me: the fresh perspective that comes with returning to something after relaxing and focusing on other things for a while.
     
  16. flipflop
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    flipflop Senior Member

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    thats the spirit personnally id rather force a scene and rewrite it later. Nobody can write perfect first time so you might as well write rubbish and perfect later
     
  17. jnk1296
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    jnk1296 Member

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    That's exactly how I was feeling about my story, burnt out.
     
  18. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I take long breaks from writing.

    I'll freely admit writing is not the be all and end all for me.

    The thing is that in itself doesn't prevent me from returning to what I was working on, if it's something I'm passionate about. If you feel strongly enough about what you're working on, in the end you'll just perservere. :)
     
  19. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    When I find myself avoiding my writing or not feeling creative I know it's time to read a few books. It's amazing to me how reading a couple good books inspires me (the not so good books inspire me too because I know I can do better than they did).

    I also have a habit of glancing at the scene I'm working on just before I go to bed. My mind works well while I'm sleeping. It helps me be more creative and more motivated to write in the morning.
     
  20. ValiantGreen
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    ValiantGreen New Member

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    Taking some time off from a specific project for a very short period of time might be okay if you're in a massive pickle, but I don't think it's a very good idea. And even if you do set your project down for a while, never ever stop writing! Good and steady writing comes from practice; the more time you commit to it, the easier it will become. I can almost promise you that the longer you put off working on it, the harder it will be. Try to get a little done each day, even if you don't think it's very good. The trick is to commit to goals and not be a perfectionist. Believe me, it's the only way I've ever been able to get anything done.
     
  21. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with previous speaker ;) even if you have lost the enthusiasm for this story, either start a new one or keep writing and see it as practise. That is what I did when losing hope for my latest novel, it needed some massive rewriting and I wasn't sure it would turn out good anyway. But I liked it too much and decided to write it just for fun, for myself and the pleasure of being around these characters, so now I have finished the latest draft and it is a LOT better than the last draft. Now I actually think it need some editing and after that I will consider submitting it to a couple of publishers. Even if it will never go anywhere at least I learned lots of things while writing it that i can use in my next novel too, writing is never wasted time no matter how the story turns out.
     

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