I’m on a writing hiatus.
I have two writing projects that are in my head and want to be written. I haven’t written a word on either of these projects in over a month and a half, despite my characters’ pleas. I’m not here to make excuses or to explain why circumstances necessitated a break from an essential part of my life, but suffice it to say that my life required that I stop writing until I get my feet back beneath me.
There is, of course, all of the sources of potential shame that comes from this: from the advice that you need to write every day to the claims that the only way to succeed is to have a supportive spouse/partner that can help run your household so you can have time to write… nope, nope, nope. Sorry, not sorry but none of us have identical lives, and I have finally reached a point in my life where I am comfortable rejecting this shame.
I’ve given myself permission for my writing hiatus.
A few weeks ago, a friend asked me how writing was coming along. I told her that it wasn’t. She nodded and smiled, perhaps because I was smiling too and said, “Good. We need to be better at giving ourselves permission to take breaks.”
On a bigger scale, this made me think. A big part of writing is just that — giving yourself permission.
My writing hiatus has been productive — both in non-writing ways and in ways that have allowed me to reflect upon how to tackle writing when I finally return to it. Today, I thought I would share some of these reflections (or maybe pledges that we writers can make, as either writing and non-writing individuals):
Give yourself permission to look deeply within yourself to find the stories that you need to tell (even though looking that deeply within yourself may be frightening at times — but also cathartic and/or necessary for healing).
Give yourself permission to put your heart on the page (even knowing that your words may be met with criticism or rejection — but that they also will have the power to create joy).
Give yourself permission to speak out and have a voice (even in this world where you may feel insignificant or outpowered — but your story matters to you and it will matter to others).
Give yourself permission to experience the emotions associated with publishing (even knowing that you will experience anxiety, self-doubt, and possibly depression — but also jubilation, fulfillment, and many occasions for celebration if you look for them).
Give yourself permission to make connections with other writers (even knowing that these connections will take time and effort, as all friendships do — but wow — what rich and long-lasting friendships you will make).
Give yourself permission to take an extended break — without shame (because you need to choose the path that works for your life, period).
Give yourself permission to be who you are as a writer.
Helen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves. An author of both urban fantasy and contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of the upper YA MYTHOLOGY trilogy and new adult contemporary romances. You can find out more about her books at www.helenboswell.com.
3 thoughts on “When On a Writing Hiatus”
Helen, I have no idea how you got into my state of mind!!!! Thank you for the gift of this post. I shall be re-reading the permissions until my own hiatus is over. Thank you.
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Thank you, Pat! I’m glad you found this helpful – wishing you the best during your hiatus and onward! 😀
I completely agree with the last piece of advice. A lot of us don’t want to give ourselves breaks because we feel like we’d be slacking yet we don’t realize how beneficial it’ll be for our writing or our life in general afterwards. Thanks for talking about this 🙂 I recently posted about one reason we’re unhappy, could you take a look? 🙂 https://mzukowskiblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/29/the-second-reason-youre-unhappy-ft-the-solution/
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