I have a confession… I have not been writing.

paper&pen20

While all my writer friends are hunched over notebooks and computers, bustling and toiling, penning lines and crumpling them up, or even just jotting down ideas, I’ve been over here… not… doing that.

Since finishing my novel in December, the last creative writing I did (excluding blog posts, which are more article-y or journal-y than creative, um, -y) was a 1000-word fiction in March, that I didn’t post because I’m submitting for publication. Oh, and those one-line stories I did in April, if those count. Otherwise… *crickets*

The reason is simple. A year ago (to the DAY! June 6th!), I wrote “The End” on my novel, and from then until the very last whiff of 2016, I was editing that sucker. The whole process – from opening up a blank document, all the way to the final polish – took a LOT out of me and a LOT of time. I needed a break.

So I’ve been breaking. And in the meantime I’ve been consumed in other activities. Querying agents, of course. Sign language lessons. Hiking. A road trip. Reading up a storm. And the big one, where all my creative energy has been redirected to: visual art.

It’s been great, but it’s also been strange to see all my fiction-inclined friends tweeting their word counts or blogging about what latest issue they’ve stumbled upon in their book, while I’m over here being the not-writing writer. I still feel part of that world, while simultaneously apart from it. I am both relieved to have this break, while nervous about how comfortable I am in it.

I didn’t set a time limit. I was doing the hyper-disciplined thing before, but now I wanted to see what would happen if I just went with the flow and didn’t worry about it. Plus I’m excited about my rediscovery of art. Art was something I always loved until I hit a paralyzing “artist’s block” in 2015. I’m thrilled to see the barriers finally crumbling down. It’s like my artist side can breathe again.

Tell me, what’s the longest writing break you’ve ever taken? What caused it and how did you feel about it? Was there something else you pursued instead?

~ Noel

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22 thoughts on “I have a confession… I have not been writing.

  1. Yeah I didn’t do any meaningful writing for a while after finishing my book, and have now only really started getting back in to it now that I’ve got some concrete ideas, it hasn’t helped either that I keep going back to the book and tweaking it. I’ve also moved my creative energy in to a new output, clogging in my case. As long as I’m having some time doing creative things I seem to be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fear not milady – you are not alone! Let those productive types throw out their word counts and their issues safe in the knowledge that in a suburb of Cape Town there’s a Welsh guy who is doing next to bugger all and without a good excuse like yours. I would stand in solidarity but I need to surf on the internet for a while and think about running πŸ™‚

    Not sure what my longest break is to be honest – as you’ve noticed I have a tendency to flit in and out. In my case it’s more about the juggling act of family, work, writing and running getting out of kilter rather than any new endeavors.

    Main thing is you seem like you are filling your days with lots of fun things – the writing habit will come back when it’s ready πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, even though writing has taken a back seat, I feel better about it knowing other meaningful things have taken the wheel. I’d feel differently if I was just dithering about, kicking rocks. It doesn’t seem to me that you’re doing bugger all! You seem to always have a new short story or funny personal anecdote to share. I admire how you keep at it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My stuff is all just excuses for not writing a novel πŸ™‚ OK I’m being a tad hard on myself – I’m glad that I come across as more productive than I feel sometimes!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Uh…well…my last book was published in the aughts, so…it’s been a while. I ghostwrote a novel after that and have two manuscripts in the works. I blog very occasionally. I post amusing pictures of my little dog (because, really, who doesn’t want to see Wil’ carrying around a stuffed goldfish as big as his head?). I read. I write internal comms for a living. But mostly I deal with things that, once I get some perspective, will make fabulous stories.

    Take your time. Read. Draw. Have adventures! You’re not failing to write; you’re just gathering book material.

    (So thrilled for your successes!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kimberly! You’re back! I wasn’t sure if you’d ever return to WordPress. πŸ™‚ I also didn’t know you’d had a book published! Maybe you mentioned this a long time ago? If so, I’m sorry for forgetting. What kind of book?

      That’s how I like to think of it too – gathering material. Filling up the well, as they say. It was quite parched, so it’s taking awhile…

      Like

  4. Are we literally twins? Because I feel like you just took a page out of my journal or something. It’s a year since I finished my novel and all the edits that come with it. I’m still querying, but I’m also looking for a new job, and often that takes precedence. It seems like there’s always something else to do, but I have been writingβ€”just not as seriously or as often as I should. Camp NaNo this April really helped start that process. I wish I didn’t feel bad about not writing, but I guess I’d rather be all in rather than writing something that doesn’t bring me joy. Thanks for being so transparent!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t tell if I feel bad about not writing, or if I feel bad about NOT feeling bad that I’m not writing. Yeah, my guilt tends to be layered. Like baklava! But less tasty. Haha πŸ˜€

      I’m glad I’m not alone in this. Sometimes it really feels like I’m the only one not writing, but maybe that’s just because those who aren’t writing aren’t talking about it.

      Like

  5. I’ve definitely had a period of six months or so when I stopped writing entirely – usually after I finish a big project, I’ll stop writing for at least three months. I think it’s natural and you’ll get back to it pretty soon.

    I honestly don’t remember what I did in the six months I stopped writing, but I’m willing to bet it involved a lot of reading and a lot of Legend of Zelda.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I took a very long break from being creative at all–about a year–when I decided to stop working on music. I was depressed and searching for a less frustrating way of expressing myself. I did a lot to try and distract myself, but I wasn’t able to snap out of it. After simply telling myself “I’m going to write a novel”, I was able to find inspiration again. It’s been nearly a year since I said that, and it’s had its own ups and downs, but I’m so much more alive creatively. I’m thankful to have finally found something that speaks to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so happy for you that you found your calling! A similar thing happened to me a few years ago – I’d been struggling with writing for a long time, then out of the blue I said simply, “I’m going to write a novel,” like you did. And somehow that was the kick I needed. It was the decisiveness of it I guess. I’ve written a second one since then, and even though I’m in a lull right now, I know I’ll write again soon – I can’t not. πŸ™‚ So what kind of novel are you working on?

      Liked by 1 person

      • the very first manuscript i wrote was a novel about teenage superheroes (currently gathering dust in my closet), but my current project is an epic fantasy. i came up with the idea for it back in September of last year, and over the course of tinkering with it, finally got it to a place where I’m ready to tackle it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. After I graduated from college, I didn’t write for about eight months. I just…had no desire to. It didn’t appeal to me at all. For a while, I wondered if I even wanted to be a writer anymore, and I was weirdly comfortable with the idea that maybe I didn’t.

    Of course, then NaNoWriMo rolled around and I wrote 10k on the first day. Guess the writing thing wasn’t just a phase after all πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand that. College is so exhausting, the idea of never picking up a pen again must have been a relief! That’s awesome that you wrote so much on that first NaNo day though – clearly the words were just building up inside you until they found a place to go splooey. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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