I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, December 7, 2012

Taking a Break from Writing


By Jennie Atkins
Christmas for me has always included a host of homemade gifts.  I like to do crafty things, so the days and weeks before the holidays, I’m usually busy making homemade gifts.
This year was no different.  I made two quilts, two fleece no-sew blankets, half dozen reversible table runners and knitted four scarves.  I’ve spent the last month and a half pumping out gifts rather than adding words to my manuscript.  I’ve heard it said a writer should write every day. Most of the year I do, but I had reached a brick wall mentally.  I found I was unable to put more than two coherent sentences together at any given time. Not good when I want my writing to be fresh.

It was time for a break. 
Each time I wanted to sit down at the computer, I resisted the temptation. I resisted the urge to mentally walk through a scene in preparation for when I would allow myself the privilege of writing again.  Why?  Because I’d been on overload, trying to push out my next story.

What I did allow myself to do, now that I wasn’t butt-in-chair-fingers-glued-to-the-keyboard, was to look up and see what I’d been missing.  I read articles on the internet creating a backlog of ideas to fuel my next stories.  I watched people, made mental notes of how they acted or things they told me.  I even watched some of my favorite movies, trying to figure out just what makes them so irresistible to me.  I jotted all the new ideas down along with those story ideas that had lain dormant in my brain because my focus centered on my next manuscript. 
  1. So I started a list of things I could do that would help my writing in the long run.
  2. Watch an old movie.
  3. Call a friend and talk about the crazy things that happened to them growing up.
  4. Read an issue of a magazine I don’t normally read.
  5. Go for a long walk.
  6. People watch at the mall.
  7. Make lists of things I found funny during the week.
  8. Jot down the things I heard on the news that I could use in an upcoming story.
  9. Take a long, hot bath.

Those are just a few. 
Now it’s your turn to add to my list.  When you can’t write another word…what do you like to do?

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, Jennie. So constructive. I completed MBT Wrimo but am not sure I will again (or maybe the challenge, but not so many words) as it really took the stuffin' out of me. Am using these days to regroup, counter-attack with fresh insights, and ready for Christmas. I love how many hands-on, love-filled crafty gifts you've made. But then you are a gift. Thanks again and many blessings.

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  2. Jennie,

    Great ideas to rejuvenate your mind so that when you come back to your computer, you'll be more prepared to write.

    When I can't think of another word to write, I like to do things with my family--playing games, snuggling next to my husband watching TV, or going to an activity at our kids' school. In other words, to be normal without feeling I "should" be writing.

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  3. I love your ideas! I'm mostly wishing I could get back into writing!

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  4. Jennie, you are truly a multi-faceted lady. I loved reading all the gifts you've created. I agree with Dee, you ARE a gift. I'm so glad I met you this year.

    Let's see, sometimes when I can't write, I focus on the undone things around the house. There are plenty right now. :) I'm also giving myself the space to get the house in order and prepare for Christmas. I also enjoy spending time with my family playing games, watching a movie, just being together.

    I think I'm going to take some of your ideas. I like your list. :)

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  5. Jennie, your talents are many! I am not crafty, so I soooo admire women who are. :)

    When I can't write, I'm all about the old movies. I just never get tired of Cary Grant. And the dialogue in some of those movies--His Girl Friday, It Happened One Night, Bringing Up Baby--so good. It's a great way, I think, to get my brain in writing mode even if I can't actually write.

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  6. Jennie, you are a treasure! Love this post since I thought I was the only one who reached the place where they can't write one more word. When that happens, I like to work with clay, get my hands dirty, create something different. Oh, and I like to read. Great post!

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  7. Hi Jennie,
    I finished Wrimo and wrote notes for scenes to back and check on, but I haven't touched it all week. I had work obligations but I'm okay with it. Interestingly enough, I've just wanted to spend time with my kids, play cards, watch movies. I haven't felt guilty at all. But come Saturday, I will get back on my goal plan :0). Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Dee,
    Wrimo is a challenge. I honestly don't know if I could do it because I need to really think about a scene before I write it. Maybe next year!

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  9. Roxanne,
    I agree that sometimes we need to back away. Sometimes I'm so driven to get more words on the paper that I forget that.

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  10. Teri,
    You will one day. Don't ever give up on your dreams!

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  11. Jeanne,
    Cleaning can be cleansing. Before my hubby and I moved to Nevada, we went through our huge house and got rid of so much stuff. And to think I spent good money on it and haven't missed any of it since!

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  12. Melissa,,
    I LOVE Cary Grant. Did you know he was once a mime? If you watch his actions you can pick it up. My favorites are Operation Petticoat and Father Goose. They're timeless.

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  13. Pat, You are not alone by any means. Some people babble when they talk...I babble when I write...and that's when I know I need to stop! LOL

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  14. Alena, Enjoy the time with your kids...they grow up too fast.

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  15. Jennie, I'm late in replying, but I love the crafty side of you!! I didn't realize you sewed too. You offered a great list of ideas. We go through different seasons in our writing where we do need mental breaks. For me, crafting is mental therapy--card making, knitting, crocheting

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