If there’s anything that can help a writer, it’s taking a break from your WIP. You may want to wait until you finish a first or second draft to do this. Another great time to pause your writing is when you’re facing major roadblocks in the plot department.
Tuck your writing away. Save it for when you’re itching with excitement to write again. In the meantime, read a book. Watch a movie. Don’t think about your main project.
It might also be helpful to take some time to write something else. This can be a great time to explore a different idea or genre. Writing daily writing prompts can be a great way to keep writing while also taking a break from your main work. Be sure to check out my post for reasons why writing prompts are super helpful for writers.
When your writing is in its beginning stages, you may feel like you want to share it with the whole world to make sure you’re on the right track. DON’T. While your writing may be fully realized in your mind’s eye, what people are seeing is a newborn child.
That’s why it may not be wise to share your first draft. You might have written a masterpiece, but chances are, you’re writing still has a far way to go. And that’s okay! Sharing your writing too early can be discouraging and can prevent you from moving forward on your project. If you do share it with someone, make sure you specify what you’re looking for regarding feedback.
Although it may seem like a good idea to just branch out in just the genre that you’re writing, it’s also helpful to try new activities besides writing. Going on walks, drawing, playing video games, role playing, sewing or knitting — all of these different activities can help you relax an over-worked writer’s mind. You might even find that previously convoluted or messy ideas untangle themselves when you’re in the middle of one of these hobbies.
Hobbies are great stress relievers. But they also help you relax your mind. Like breathing a breath of fresh air in the mountains after being surrounded by city pollution.
For me, sketching, yoga, and playing guitar are super helpful when writing has become stressful.
What hobbies help you relax?
For a long time, I viewed other writers as an almost threatening presence. The artistic community can often turn so competitive that we turn against each other. Who gets published first? Who “succumbs” to self-publishing? Who gets represented by an agent?
Does it matter? Not really.
On Twitter, there’s a giant community of writers who all use the hashtag #writingcommunity and #amwriting. They show support by following, they repost other writer’s tweets, and they’re incredibly encouraging. I’m sure like any social media, this group might have it’s negatives, but there are plenty of other online platforms for writers to gather, as well as physical groups for writers.
When I think of writer’s groups, I think of the old group that Tolkien and Lewis belonged to called the Inklings. They used to meet for a drink and work on writing together. Maybe you just have a small group of friend writers who can help you process your writing. Maybe you meet over video chat.
The next time you see the chance to join a writer’s group, give it a chance. As writers, we need to support each other and lift each other up. If one of us succeeds, we all succeed.
The writing world can be tough at any level. Whether you’ve received your first bad review or just can’t figure out a character’s motivation for taking her next step, YOU as a writer need to take a moment to be kind to yourself.
Tell yourself 5 things you love about your writing abilities. That’s right — compliment your own writing. Get as big-headed as you want.
Next tell yourself 5 things you love about yourself besides writing. This might be harder, and that’s okay. But it’s also important to remind yourself that you are more than a writer. You have a set of unique characteristics.
What do you love about yourself or your writing?
After you’ve pepped yourself up a bit, you’re ready to face those reviews, those edits, those comments. Spend time reading critiques from your fellow readers or writers. Take time to mull them over. Keep the comments that will help your writing and chuck out the rest — and that includes all personal attacks.
Only you can choose how you receive and process your critiques. Not every review will be true, but they can also be helpful. Take your time with them and be gentle with yourself and your writing. You’ve worked hard. Now it’s time to work harder.