The Real Reason I Don’t Like Taking Breaks From Writing

Trust me, it’s a good reason.

As I am writing this, it has been about a week since I worked on my book. Yeah, the one I’m almost done with but still haven’t finished because I might be procrastinating on purpose? I love this story — can you blame me for not being ready for it to end?

There is nothing wrong with taking a short hiatus from something you have been working on even before you have officially finished it. It can even be healthy and good for you, allowing you some time to clear your head and the chance to return to your project with a fresh perspective.

Can I be honest with you? I hate taking breaks from my work. Even short ones.

Not because I’m addicted to my work (though I suppose that could be questionable), but because I kid you not, every single time I stop consistently working on something, all the information and brain power normally dedicated to that project stores itself away into some hidden eventually accessible pocket and all of a sudden there’s all this room for … more ideas?

And guess what happens when you make room in your brain for more ideas? MORE IDEAS COME SPRINTING AT FULL SPEED TOWARD YOU WITHOUT ANY HESITATION WHATSOEVER.

I forget this prior to every break I take, of course. I think to myself, “Oh don’t worry you’ll be just fine, let your brain rest and think about your project pressure-free.”

And then there I am, sitting at my desk clocked into my day job working on things completely unrelated to my personal creative endeavors and BOOM.

No warning, no consideration, ZERO respect. One minute I’m editing an article about Meghan Markle’s shoes and the next an idea for a novel is unraveling inside my brain and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it.

HI, EXCUSE ME NEW IDEA I WASN’T PREPARED FOR, CAN YOU … NOT??

Continue reading “The Real Reason I Don’t Like Taking Breaks From Writing”

Your Words Will Find a Way

When life hands you roadblocks, do you keep writing?

Over the past few weeks, I have been struggling to get my work done. After over a month of having no problems staying ahead of my writing goals, this was not an easy set of obstacles to overcome.

Every night I went to bed anxious and frustrated. And every morning I woke up worried about everything that needed doing, and all the things I could have done the night before but didn’t.

It got to the point where I began to wonder if continuing to pursue my overly ambitious writing goals would even be worth it. It was halfway through 2019 and I just couldn’t imagine enduring six more months of constantly trying to play catch-up, always falling behind due to circumstances completely out of my control.

I felt as though I was constantly slamming my head against a wall trying to Make More Writing Happen. Why couldn’t I do more? Maybe it was because that time just wasn’t the best time, and I needed to slow down.

When life hands you roadblocks, do you keep writing? Do you slow down? Or do you stop completely and wait for the storms to clear?

Continue reading “Your Words Will Find a Way”

Unpopular Opinion: Beginning Writers Should Focus on Quantity, Not Quality

When you’re first starting out, it might be more important to focus on more instead of better.

Have you ever wondered why, as a beginner, writing often feels frustrating and sometimes even pointless?

It might be because many beginning writers are focusing on all the wrong things.

Most writers who are first starting out have big dreams. They want to be bestselling authors. They want to be the Stephen Kings, the J.K. Rowlings of their genres/eras. They want their writing to mean something. They want their work to matter.

It’s very easy to forget, when you’re focusing on your big dreams, that you can’t go from zero to bestseller overnight. A lot has to come before that. A lot of patience, and disappointment, and tears, and feeling like you’re doing everything right yet nothing good is coming of it.

This is why I believe beginners shouldn’t focus on writing “well.” Instead, they should just focus on writing as much as possible.

Before you judge my opinion, hear me out. Let me explain my progression as a writer and how one specific strategy helped me get to where I am today.

Continue reading “Unpopular Opinion: Beginning Writers Should Focus on Quantity, Not Quality”

12 Honest Truths About Being An Unpublished Novelist

This is a lot harder than you thought it would be.

1. You want to share your stories with the world, you’re just not there yet. So there’s this long and often frustrating waiting period where you have to keep working silently in a corner, and that’s hard.

2. It’s normal to start writing a book you’ll never finish, but a lot of guilt comes with that, and friends and family who have never experienced this just won’t understand it even when you try to explain it to them.

3. You want to be a published author more than anything you’ve ever wanted before. But wanting something isn’t enough, and sometimes the work is just exhausting and instant gratification is non-existent.

4. The “are you writing a book” question gets really old really fast — sometimes because the answer is “yes.” Sometimes because the answer is “no.”

5. Every time someone asks “When are you going to publish a book?” the pressure builds.

6. It gets lonely. Even hanging out with an entire cast of characters, it gets lonely.

7. You’re trying. You’re not sure if you’re trying hard enough, but you’re still trying.

8. Sometimes reading someone else’s published book is the only thing that inspires you to keep working on yours.

9. Not everyone is ready to talk about their work in progress but we still kind of want to be asked about it anyway.

10. This is a lot harder than it looks.

11. The only way to learn how to write a good novel is to write a bunch of novels. Most of them will never get published. That’s kind of disappointing, but to do all that just to publish one … that has to mean something.

12. It’s not going to be easy. But you’re going to keep writing. Somewhere deep down you just know it’s going to be worth it someday.


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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

What If People Read My Writing And See Me For Who I Really Am?

Maybe this is the source of your fear after all.

In the past eight months, I have started writing two novels. I have yet to finish either of them, and until now, I thought I knew why.

All this time I’ve thought I was stalling their conclusions because I was overly attached and didn’t want them to end. Or I was too emotionally drained to endure the effort it would take to compose those final pages. Or maybe I was stressed beyond belief and just didn’t want to finish what I’d started.

But it turns out my unfinished projects have nothing to do with an unwillingness to deal with my emotions or uncontrollable life stressors, though those are certainly factors that make finishing a book probably much more difficult than it needs to be.

No. I’m just afraid that the stories I’m telling will reveal way more about myself than I’m ready to shove out into the world. At least, I have yet to admit I’m getting closer to being ready. I think.

Forcing yourself to be vulnerable is not a prerequisite for good writing. But in my experience, it does completely change the writing experience. For better or for worse, I’m still not sure.

Continue reading “What If People Read My Writing And See Me For Who I Really Am?”

Why a Writer Should Never Hold Back

Don’t hold back. Go all in.

Do you ever feel like what you’re creating isn’t quite … enough?

It’s not bad. It’s not forced or cliched or lacking anything that makes it a consumable piece of writing. Yet something is missing. Or rather, you feel like you could be doing more — going deeper, confirming what’s implied, saying what needs to be said, grabbing the reader where it hurts and squeezing their already broken hearts.

You could be, but you aren’t. Why is that?

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What If You Stop Writing and Never Start Again?

Please tell me I’m not the only one who worries about this.

Every time I take even a very small, reasonable break from writing, I have a frustratingly difficult time starting back up again.

I took one day off of writing last week — I had a doctor’s appointment that pretty much put me out of commission for the day, which was fine — and haven’t been able to get back up to my normal productivity level since. I was going strong for almost two months, and now I just can’t push myself to return to that pace.

This struggle reminded me that my biggest fear of all as a writer is that at some point I will try to give myself a break from writing for a day or a week or even a month and once I do that I won’t be able to write ever again.

Is this an irrational fear produced by my combined anxiety and inability to not create things? OF COURSE IT IS. I know I’m not going to suddenly lose my passion for writing simply because I take time off. I’m bad at taking time off, but I am aware it’s not going to ruin my entire life if I do.

But sometimes I can’t help but wonder what would happen if tomorrow I just … stopped writing. Like forever. And I’m sure I’m not the only one whose curiosity has ever been piqued by this possibility. What if? What if someone who has been writing consistently for years just doesn’t write anymore?

The thing is, this probably happens more than you realize. Sometimes writers just decide they’re done.

How much would your life really change if you just walked away?

Continue reading “What If You Stop Writing and Never Start Again?”

Weird Novel-Writing Struggles I’ve Never Had Before (Until Now)

WHAT. IS. HAPPENING?

So I’m writing a book. This probably comes to absolutely no one’s surprise, since I really wouldn’t have any right to talk about writing if I wasn’t also actively writing. I’ve been working on this project for over three months, and I’m finally at that threshold — you know, the one where you just KNOW you’re almost done.

I’M SO EXCITED! But also … ready to be done with Phase 1. Not just because I’m going to let myself take a small break when I finally close it out, but because I’m ready to go back in later this year and start to really shape this mess of a story into something I can share with the world.

What has surprised me more than anything throughout this process is how much I am still learning — about myself, about my creative process, and about writing as a whole. Let’s say I’ve technically been writing pretty consistently for 12 years. When I first started writing, I thought I’d be a master by now! I thought I’d know all I needed to know to succeed as a writer.

I’m so glad I was wrong.

There is a good reason I always make it a point to remind you that a writer should never stop learning — it’s almost impossible! Also, the reason I always tell you that writing is the only way to get better is because there is, in my opinion, no better way to learn to write than by writing.

Since I’m a little weary from that “almost done but not quite” feeling, I thought it would be fun to share a few things I’ve learned over the past three months. It’s okay to laugh. I’m laughing. On the outside.

Continue reading “Weird Novel-Writing Struggles I’ve Never Had Before (Until Now)”

Don’t Quit Writing Because Someone Says You Should

There are reasons to quit. This isn’t a good one.

I once read a comment from a reader/viewer criticizing me for telling writers they shouldn’t quit.

In the context of the thing they were leaving a comment on, it really wasn’t appropriate. When someone’s message is meant to inspire or encourage members of an audience to or not to do something, if you don’t agree, you can just … you know … click away.

But in general, the comment made total sense. If a writer wants to quit, they should be allowed to quit. Some people walk away from their creative outlets and that’s completely their choice. I would never judge anyone for saying they don’t want to write anymore. You do you, friends. The way I look at it, if writing no longer makes you happy, setting it aside might be the best decision for you personally. Do what’s best for you.

There’s only one situation in which I stand by my philosophy that quitting is not an option. And that’s deciding to quit solely because someone else says you should stop writing.

Continue reading “Don’t Quit Writing Because Someone Says You Should”

12 Signs It’s Time to Take a Writing Hiatus

It’s time for a break.

1. You just finished a big project and you deserve a break! Go you!

2. You just decided to put a big project on hold. You got this.

3. You’re feeling creatively stuck/drained.

4. You accomplished a small goal. Yay!

5. You feel emotionally disconnected from your work.

6. You’re questioning whether or not writing is still your “thing” …

7. … or whether or not you want it to be your career.

8. You want/feel motivated to write, there are just more pressing priorities right now.

9. You don’t feel motivated to write at all but aren’t sure of the reason.

10. You’re just not where you need to be mentally to do your best writing.

11. You want to give your work some room to breathe.

12. You’ve been working really hard. Yes. You deserve a break.


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.


Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.