So. You want to take a break.
You’ve been working hard for a long time.
Or, you’re just fed up, but don’t want to quit completely.
Here are a few things you should ask yourself before walking away.
Are there Important Life Things that, for now, need to take priority over writing?
Last week, I adopted a puppy. I realized very quickly that I needed to take time away from all my personal writing projects to help her (and myself) adjust to the new arrangement. This was an Important Life Thing — I was responsible for a fuzzy chew monster, and couldn’t have focused on writing outside of my day job even if I’d tried. (SHE’S JUST SO CUTE.)
Sometimes, “life” happens. You have to focus on fewer things that need more individualized attention. You have to put aside writing to be a responsible human — and that’s OK. You should never feel guilty for doing this, as long as you set a “restart” date (mine was today!) and jump back in as soon as you are able.
Would you rather do something else because you can’t shake off unimportant distractions?
I’m confident many would-be writers stop because they get too distracted by other things — things they’d “rather” be doing, instead of things they “have” to do.
There’s a big difference between reordering your priorities and not writing because you’d rather do something else. I haven’t played a video game in over two months. I’d love to stop everything I’m doing and do that instead. But I have to write. Until my distractions stop being distractions and start being “earned relaxations,” I’m not allowed to touch them.
Does the writing you’re doing make you feel unfulfilled?
Here’s a final reason you might at least consider quitting temporarily: you aren’t happy with the work you’re doing. It might seem like you’re just tired or it’s just been a long week and you need a short break, but dissatisfaction with your current WIP/job could be the underlying cause.
How do you fix this? You take some time off. You reflect. You ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, how you could make it better, or what you’d rather be doing instead. Sometimes, doubting whether or not you’re doing the right thing is the best way to figure out where to go next.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.