TUESDAY WRITING TIP – TAKING A BREAK FROM YOUR MANUSCRIPT

I’ve been on a roller coaster with my writing over the last few weeks. Life has taken over at times and like all writers, I’ve had a few setbacks. (Not just the ‘thanks but no thanks’ emails)

I’ve been working on my YA trilogy which is a complex maze of characters, plot and foreshadowing. I tried a series of different plotting devices, but what I realised this week is the thing I need most is to take a break – to stop forcing the issue and allow my subconscious to do its work.

I find that the more pressure I put on myself, the harder it is for my brain to relax…for my thoughts to flow freely…to find the creative solutions I need.

Part of my difficulty has been the discovery that what I thought was book one in the trilogy is actually book two and now I have to basically start from scratch – which is okay, but these characters and their conflicts have been in my head for so long that I feel like I need to put some distance between us.

It’s like spending 24/7 with a bossy friend and feeling that you just need time out to breathe…to be yourself.

Basically, I got to 12,000 words and hit the brick wall. Even though I know what’s going to happen, I need to do more character development and plotting…and thinking. Like a freshly made pot of tea, I need to leave this story to let it brew. So, hard as it has been, I’ve walked away from the manuscript for the time being.

I’m taking a break and loving it…and I know that when I get back to this story I’m going to love it a whole lot more too.

Sometimes you need to walk away from a manuscript. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it’s okay to let it go for the time being and move on to something else.

Here’s what to I’ve been doing and these are some things that might help you if you feel like your manuscript is managing you:

  1. I’m reading a lot…and loving it. Reading great books reminds you of what you love about being a writer.
  2. Taking lots of long walks with my dog (and sometimes the cat). They think this is a fabulous idea.
  3. Revisiting an old manuscript in a completely different genre. (I’m really enjoying this).
  4. Taking a short writing course.

I’d love to hear your suggestions and tips about what you do when you feel like you are getting bogged down with a manuscript. What do you do to get back the spark?

Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section of this post.

Happy writing:)

Dee

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6 thoughts on “TUESDAY WRITING TIP – TAKING A BREAK FROM YOUR MANUSCRIPT

  1. Your post is in sync with my life ATM Dee. I have been changing so much in my current WIP that the beginning needs to be scrapped and restarted. Tick to all of the above methods, plus I’ve been trying meditation with guided recordings specifically aimed at creative writing. Helps free my mind. I’m also tackling a lot more writing exercises through courses, blogs and my weekly writing group – these are things that left to my own devices I’ll talk about but not do. They help me feel productive even if my WIP hasn’t moved forward.

  2. Hi Charmaine,

    Yep, meditation is another great one. It is good to feel you have achieved something with your writing isn’t it? Even if it’s not your current WIP. The way I see it, no writing is wasted and it all contributes to us becoming better writers and writing better books.

    Happy writing:)

    Dee

  3. A similar thing happened to me, Dee. I thought I was writing a YA novel and after 20,000 words realised that I had two stories emerging and that I had been working on the second book… the backstory on what I thought was a single book has become the first book! I took a long break from it, and since then, a third story has started to emerge, too, so now I have a trilogy. But I need to do a lot more character development and plotting. I have a sense of an ending and story arc for all three, but not much of a plot. This writing business is hard work, eh? I’m sorry I don’t have any tips for you (other than the whole ‘take a break’ thing), but I just wanted to empathise 🙂

  4. Hi scribers,
    When I need a break I turn to exercise that still lets my mind whir. Swimming lengths, walking on the beach at a quick pace – so the blood flows, the body gets some oxygen and healthy activity and I get to actually leave the house. However, to keep the brain active, I write articles for submission to relevant magazines and also look for competitions to enter so I can work on something completely different for just a short while, before returning to that WIP.

  5. Thanks Sandra,

    It’s always reassuring to hear people going through similar journeys with their writing. This writing business is hard work isn’t it? But I can’t imagine doing anything else. While I’m taking a break from my YA, I working on my humorous junior fantasy novel, and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

    You sound very inspired about your trilogy. I hope you’ll keep us updated with how it’s going.

    Happy writing:)

    Dee

  6. Hi Taryn,

    Exercise is great for getting the ideas flowing isn’t it? I try and play golf at least once a week. I think of some of my best ideas while I’m walking around the golf course.

    And I find that that writing something completely different definitely helps.

    I hope your writing is going well:)

    Dee

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