I Didn’t Realize How Important Writing Was to Me Until I Stopped

There’s nothing wrong with taking a break.

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I once went 7 months without writing.

No journaling, no fiction — nothing other than college and newswriting assignments. If I wrote at all, it was because my GPA, or my job, depended on it.

Even in the months leading up to that unintentional yet necessary hiatus, my journal from that time period is filled with months’ worth of one-sentence entries. If they weren’t all packed in a storage unit right now, I’d show you. I’m guessing they were just statements about how I felt — I’m tired. I’m lonely. I’m sad.

I didn’t write because I couldn’t, not because I didn’t want to. I wanted to. But it took a very long break for me to realize how much writing as a whole really meant to me.

Sometimes, you have to take a step back. You have to fix your life. It’s not about making excuses as much as it is about prioritizing, about knowing when it’s OK to leave stories frozen in time until you’re mentally and physically able to return to them again.

All this isn’t to say you should quit just because things are hard. If you really need to take time off for personal reasons, obviously you’re not going to completely miss out. You gotta do what you gotta do.

But sometimes we don’t realize how much we depend on something for joy, for survival, until it’s not part of our lives anymore. I didn’t want to find something else to replace writing. I couldn’t. It was, and still is, as much of a part of me as breathing. That’s not an exaggeration, either. When I don’t write, I feel like I cannot breathe. Nothing is quite right without it.

You’re not a failure if you have to step away. And if you do have to step away, that doesn’t mean you will never return to writing again someday. Chances are, you will. You might even return feeling refreshed and ready to start over.

It’s OK. Take a break. But don’t forget to come back, eventually.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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2 thoughts on “I Didn’t Realize How Important Writing Was to Me Until I Stopped

  1. wow–I was just thinking about this today–thinking about all the writing I haven’t touched in months, and how tired I am and stressed over a thousand other things, like my reading goals and blogging goals (which have suffered a bit, too), my budget cuts and trying to make ends meet. I’m stuck in a world that I can’t get and there’s this little voice inside me screaming to try and write–but I know if I do in this current state, I’ll make one of my stories, or two, or ten incomprehensible. I have to let myself absorb, but I’ve been scared to get back to it, too.

    Well, I’ll be on a cleaning frenzy tomorrow, and making room for my story ideas again, and give them a place of prominence so I don’t forget about them all the time. It’s not fair that I keep putting off what I want to do because I’m too scared. tired of being scared of screwing up. I need to give myself permission again.

    Yeah, we need to get back to what we love. After an exhausting day of work, I couldn’t even watch a whole movie til I put “Clue” in (hadn’t seen it in forever) and it was different enough it kept my interest and got me thinking. Too restless and too much a wasted day today. Tomorrow will be better, but time to write the crap out of my head so I’m ready to start.

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