Last week icky feelings started to creep into my head again. The thought of writing, or rather rewriting, made me sick, so I took a week off.
I wouldn't always recommend taking breaks when you don't want to write. I mean, if I took a break every time I wasn't feeling it I'd never get anything done. But there are times when I think a planned break can be good:
1. Lost Faith in the Story
I don't know about you, but sometimes I lose sight of why I want to write a particular story in the first place. When that happens, I start to think the story is "the stupidest thing ever imagined" and "why in the world would anyone care about it" and "why am I wasting my time?"
Not exactly the best mentality for writing.
For me, this is a sign that I'm overwhelmed by my work. I'm getting burned out or bored. I've lost sight of the bigger picture and need to step back.
2. Something's "Not Right"
At times, I come to a point in a story where something...dies. The pacing wanes, the characters are flat, the scene is going nowhere. In my gut I just know that something's wrong. What I planned to write isn't what needs to be written, you know? There's something I missed.
I didn't used to, but I've learned these are important times to take a break and let things click into place. For me, just sitting and thinking is an important part of the process. It's true that first ideas aren't always the best ideas, and it takes time for the better options to appear.
And that's it. Yeah, sorry the list of legitimate break excuses isn't longer, but that's how it is. They usually go hand in hand, too. So if you ever feel like this, I don't think it would be horrible to give yourself a small break.
Don't think I'm giving you a free pass to slack off or something. When you decide to take a break, you need to set an exact length of time and stick to it—a day, a week, a month—then when your break is over you need to come back and work.
I'm back to the grind today, and I'm surprised how excited I am to get into to this WIP I hated last week. I've worked out the snags in my head, remembered why I love this book, and am ready to continue making it better. Yay for legitimate breaks!