Time for a break


I think I’ve spent so long concentrating on being published that I’ve lost the joy of writing. For the last 4 years, that’s been my goal and it still is. But its become harder and harder to sit down and write. I think I need a new goal.

For the first couple of years it was okay – I could tell myself I’m still learning the craft, I still have a long way to go. I loved playing with words, learning how to make a story work. But as I get closer to the goal of being published, and I’m still not there, it’s taking its toll. The rational side of me knows it will happen. I’ve finalled in competitions, I’ve had requests for fulls. I’m close but not quite there. Part of it is now down to luck. But with every word I write, its hard to get that out of my head. I feel like I analyse every word, every sentence, every scene. Will this be the one? 

For the insecure child inside me, it almost seems futile to write. Why bother? It’ll just lead to another rejection – or worse, that dreaded silence where you submit and never get any feedback. I see friends get published – and while I’m genuinely happy for them, I will admit to a part of me having a little tantrum, stamping my foot and saying “When is it my turn?” And every time well-meaning friends and family ask how my writing is going, it’s like another knife to the heart. (And yes, I do love that they care enough to ask!) I read how-to books, I watch other people’s success and I’ve become caught up in that rush to succeed.

This last few months, I’ve been incredibly busy as well as under a lot of stress in my personal life, and writing has become another dreaded thing to stare at on my to-do list and wish it would disappear. So a week or so ago, I said enough. I’ve made the decision that I’m not worrying about writing until the New Year. 6 weeks of not having to write. I’m pretty sure I will write something in that time. I’m still journalling. The words are still there. They want to come out. But who knows what words they will be? I’m taking off the pressure of having to write and hopefully I’ll get back to the point of wanting to write again.

And yes, maybe I need a new goal.

Please feel free to share any ideas, or even commiserations!


21 thoughts on “Time for a break

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-112647">
    Susanne Bellamy

    A good decision, Kerrie. I’ve been there too, same as other writers, and the slog can become grinding. But it is important in all areas of life to stop, reflect and rethink goals, as you have done.

    I applaud your decision and wish you a reinvigorating break.
    Take care 🙂

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-112845">

      Thanks Susanne. And thanks once again for your support!

    li class="comment even thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-112654">

    I said to lovely Juanita just the other day that the only reason we do this is from a love to write. It is so much effort to write a book that doesn’t then sell well and you think: why bother? maybe I’ll just beta read and edit other people’s work instead? But if you love to write, then that’s a goal in itself. Forgetting about being published for a while sounds like a great plan to me Kerrie. This writing caper is far too damn hard to do if you not enjoying it.
    Best wishes!

      li class="comment odd alt depth-2" id="comment-112736">

      Yes, you did, Ms Malone! In fact you gave me a very big butt-kicking which I know I needed 🙂 Thanks xxx

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor even depth-2" id="comment-112846">

      Thanks Lily! You’re right, it’s bloody hard work if you don’t love it. Most of my problem comes from being a perfectionist, so it’s time to take step back and re-think.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-112735">

    Sending you a very, very big hug. You write beautiful, heartwarming stories that come from deep within. Somewhere out there is a place for you. Take a break, you’re a busy lady. Cut yourself some slack, you’re a hard worker and valued volunteer. We wouldn’t be able to write if we didn’t doubt ourselves just a little. That’s what helps us put heart and soul into our writing. Penning a novel is hard – it’s emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting, especially when you’re doing it right. Don’t give up hope, lovely lady. xxx

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor even depth-2" id="comment-112848">

      Thanks my sweet. I won’t stop writing in the long term – I think I just need time to refill my tank. It’s running on fumes atm 🙂

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-112796">

    My thoughts are with you for sure… and I think you are wise for putting your priorities in place. Good on you!

    I went through a similar type of thing and chose to line up the skittles for another project whilst putting writing on the side burner (note not backburner) during that time. (But I do hope you will continue with your writing down the track…)

    I agree with Juanita, cut yourself some slack and don’t give up ‘cos…

    YOU’RE A LEGEND! (and have always thought so)

    Cheeries Gabba

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor even depth-2" id="comment-112851">

      Thanks Gabba. Yep will definitely continue with the writing, but maybe I need to stop trying to do everything at once 🙂

    li class="comment odd alt thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-113688">

    Good decision Kerrie! I agree with all the above comments. It’s too much blood, sweat and tears to be subjecting yourself to it if you’re not enjoying the process. Take a break and when you don’t have to write you’ll probably want to.

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor even depth-2" id="comment-113916">

      Thanks Lee. That’s what I figure 🙂

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-113804">

    Hey Kerrie, I have had several periods over the last 8 years when I’ve thought, “this is not worth the effort” despite a few successes. I get how hard it is to keep going without ANY positive strokes. It eats away at you and when you do the best you can and you KNOW it’s good and yet you simply cannot get anyone to take it on, then yes, it’s a bastard of an occupation. But I always go back. What the hell is wrong with me? Earlier this year I thought nuh, I can’t stand it anymore. But when my partner went away for 3 weeks and I had nothing to do I thought I’d test myself, start a writing project and see how I felt about it. And I fell n love again, I’ll finish it, I’ll shop it around, I’ll start another, I’ll be disappointed, I’ll face brick walls of rejection, but I know I’m seriously connected to writing and it doesn’t hurt my love for it to have a break. I think you really have to follow your instincts in a creative career. If your mojo is saying ‘time out, Kerrie’ then listen to it. You’ll go back, and you’ll go back refeshed.

      li class="comment even depth-2" id="comment-113836">

      Thanks Phillipa 🙂 I want to come back and be able to give it my best again – not my ‘close enough is good enough’ 🙂

    li class="comment odd alt thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-113860">

    My favourite saying is something about “that moment you are about to give up is when the magic happens.” I believe this. Your decision is a good one. The fact that you are making the hard decisions shows you have what it takes. There is so much luck i cracking. I watch shows like X-Facto and see singers who are BETTER at singing that those whose songs they sing and yet they have not MADE IT. Life just isn’t fair sometimes. Have your tantrum. We all do. Even those ‘on the other side’. As Phillipa will no doubt agree, the ‘other side’ requires tantrum throwing too.

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor even depth-2" id="comment-113918">

      lol, thanks Jenn. I’ll be back, refreshed, brimming with ideas and ready to kick serious butt 🙂

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-113866">

    Oh, Kerrie, I’ve been there. It’s such a hard place to be. I did have a break for a bit and I came back refreshed. For a while I didn’t write at all, but eventually the lure was too strong. I started to write just to please myself and eventually that led to success.

    I hope you find your way back to a happy writing place very soon. xx

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor even depth-2" id="comment-113920">

      Thanks Lisa – that’s exactly what I have to do. I’m glad it worked for you 🙂

    li class="comment odd alt thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-114487">

    You know me, so this is no Buttering up! 🙂
    I’ve been one of those fortunate to CP some of your work. I remember One MS in particular – (not wrought with 1000’s of oops or bloops at all) and I said to you (I QUOTE) “I finished it and thought to myself – ‘I can see that story as one on Oprah’s Bookclub for discussion-‘ as I was having those discussions about the characters actions with myself.”

    The talent is there – the words are there – and it’s exactly as you said Kerrie, they (MS) just have to find a home! And that’s where I think we flounder in this new, crazy world of publishing :/
    Your are right though – How do we go about that when we’ve finalled in comps – sent out to editors & publishers and still our MS is sitting in a folder?
    Sometimes a step away, a clear head and new vision is needed to see the way forward. Take the time you need & do what you must to figure that out!

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor even depth-2" id="comment-114745">

      Thanks Mary. You’re too kind!

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-118984">

    Some wonderful advice here Kerrie and it can help sometimes to hear other’s journey to know you’re not alone. Writing is a funny business, the self doubt never goes away, and its so very hard to maintain personal status quo when others find success. Being your CP is an honour. You know I love your writing, your beautiful flow of words and your lovely characters. I believe you will cross that publication threshold, remember everyone’s journey is different and takes different lengths of time. From my personal perspective, there have been moments in my life when I’ve been rock bottom. There is no way I had any creative energy during those times. Writing will always be there if or when you’re ready. Now is the time to nurture yourself, pamper yourself, listen to your own emotional needs and do everything you can to remain strong . Be kind to yourself and put taking care of yourself (& B) as top of your agenda. Hugs sweetie.

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-kpadmin bypostauthor even depth-2" id="comment-123648">

      Thanks sweetie!

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