Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What I'm Learning from my Writing Break



1.       1The guilt isn’t real.

I’ll I'll be honest, Guilt is the main reason I couldn't stop writing when I knew I needed to. How will it look? Will I still be a writer? Is it copping out?
       
You know the doubts. They deluge us when we take a day or so and do anything but write. The same guilt that eats at us when we aren’t as far along as our friends. It’s very real and it weighs on my heart. But..

2.      2.  Not writing for awhile is very freeing. Yes, freeing. My mind is free to think about all sorts of things—yes some writing things too. But also to really discover what stories do draw me.

3.       3. The support is amazing.

I feared stopping awhile would put me on the outside—one of those want-to-be writers who can’t go the distance. But many of you shared how you did the same thing—took a break and let God speak to you about what to write. I’ve shared my doubts about writing fiction or non-fiction, finding more success in non-fiction but after having written five novels, I struggle with writing another and having it languish in my desk drawer.
4.       I can focus on what I need to focus on now.  Like looking for full-time employment and knowing that if I do get it, I won’t be sad that I won’t be writing as much. I feel as though I’m preparing myself for a situation that can’t be helped.

5.       4. Finally, I’m learning to Be Still and not write just to be published. Stepping out of the race to find the words I really need to write is much more satisfying. 

  So tell me, do you write to keep in the race? How are you doing with it?



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44 comments:

Katie Ganshert said...

Sounds like you are right where God wants you to be, Terri. And that is a beautiful thing. So glad your break is going well.

Carmen said...

This sounds so good Terri! Sometimes we really do need a break just to hear that still small voice that gives direction. You'll always be a writer, but we all need a time of refreshing, redirection and validation. I love your posts...you're so real and it shows through!

Cheryl Klarich said...

"Be still and know that I am God."

Sometimes that is the hardest commandment, but it shows His awesome love towards us.

Peace. Be still. Listen to His whisper...

Sandra Heska King said...

Sometimes we have to be still and just be with Him. Maybe no words at all. Maybe not even ask. Maybe not even strain to listen. Just be and know. Rest.

In His time, His words will pour into your heart. And I believe out on the paper.

Hugs.

Lin Floyd said...

I'm taking a writing break too and focusing on marketing my book...not fun. I don't write to sell my books but to express my voice and thoughts so it's a strange place to me but needed before I can start on new projects. I just found a fun book called Pencil Dancing that I love-check it out...

Linda Hoye said...

Sometimes we have to stop in order to move forward. Sometimes we lose sight of the path we are supposed to be on and if we don't stop and ask for direction we are apt to go too far down the wrong road. You are doing the right thing; asking for direction from the only One who has them.

Hugs.

Karen Lange said...

You know, these are great and inspiring lessons. I'm tempted to feel the same way about taking a break from my blog. So glad you are learning and growing; I know the other side of this will be very good for you.
Blessings,
Karen

Joanne Sher said...

Super thoughts, Terri. Sounds like you're right where you need to be. Taking a break definitely isn't my problem. Trust me :)

Heidi Willis said...

I don't write to keep in the race anymore. I've done that, and now it feels like I'm writing just because I'm compelled to - because I love it.

Which isn't to say I write every day, or that I don't struggle sometimes. Breaks - even if just small ones - are good to stop and make sure we're heading in the right direction.

Julie Jarnagin said...

Enjoy your time! I've written my last two books with contracts. I'm actually looking forward to writing the next one without a contract. It will be freeing! Some people don't understand this, but for me it makes perfect sense. We all have our own paths.

Warren Baldwin said...

Good lessons. Important ones. And writing just to write, not just to get published, is great exercise.

Susan said...

Hi Terri...I'm glad you are taking some needed time off. As for me, I am writing because it brings me great joy and I love meeting all the super people in Blogland, like you! Susan

Nehha N Josshi said...

I completely agree with you that not writing for a while is freeing...:)

Retired English Teacher said...

It is good to hear that your break has been beneficial and insightful. Timing is everything. Now is your time to learn some new things that might be used in important ways to help others later.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Terri, I feel God is not just speaking to you, but through you. he is also speaking to all of us. At times the entire writing journey : from writing that first draft to the final version and querying, finding a publisher can be overwhelming. We need lots of a patience and a strong faith in God.

Lynda R Young said...

Your last words say it all: "Stepping out of the race to find the words I really need to write is much more satisfying." That's why I keep writing (not for publication).

Loree Huebner said...

The words will come when the time is right...

I work full time and it's not always easy to find time to write, but we adapt because it's what we must do. Sometimes the adapting part enhances our writing.

Jessica Nelson said...

I think you're just fine! And whenever I feel the urge to race, I stop myself. This is going to be my career, yes, but I also want it to be my pleasure.
You've written way too much to be a writer who can't write. :-) Rest, and enjoy the rest.

Shopgirl said...

Thanks for writing this. I just took a break recently and found it rejuvenating but there is that nagging sense of guilt. I loved the verse from my devotional page for today though - "Be still and know that I am God". Too perfect.

Jill Kemerer said...

I'm glad your break is giving you what you need. Don't worry, writing is always here when you need it!

Nancy said...

No, I don't write to keep in the race. That ended a long time ago. I think for me, once the dream died, the writing became fun again. Anyway, it's fun now.

Melissa Marsh said...

I've done the same before - given myself permission NOT to write and to just step back. It IS very freeing.

It sounds like a break is exactly what you needed. :-)

Margo Berendsen said...

I think your journey may have valuable wisdom for me. Please keep writing on the blog, at least. I think I am in the opposite dilemma, but to explain would require far more than comment space. Trying to bring my writing life more under God's control and proceed with his blessing. Be still and know I am God is exactly what I needed to hear, too, thank you!

Maria I. Morgan said...

I think you're wise to take a break and allow God to refresh you and give you new perspective! Being still isn't always the easiest, but it's when we can hear God the clearest. The lessons you're learning are very important and I look forward to hearing about the wonderful plans God has in store for you - both writing and otherwise! Praying for you, Terri! God bless!

Deb Shucka said...

I'm so inspired by you, Terri. I'm actually in a place where it's looking like I need to step back from my book, despite the fact that I'm having to go back to work in August. Your words are exactly what I needed to see today.

Sassy Granny ... said...

I hate to admit it, but all too often I put myself under many such optional stresses. I run a race with no finish line, or I seek a prize that is really a no prize at all.

Nowadays I try very hard to do everything intentionally, and with ease. No striving. It gives me indegestion!

Hugs,
Kathleen

Julie Musil said...

Terri, it sounds to me like you're in a good place. When the story speaks to you, and you can't help but sit down and write it out, then you'll fall in love with it again.

There are days when I wonder what in the heck I'm doing, and am I wasting my time. Publishing would be nice, but really, I love writing anyway. Even if it's just in my thankful journal :D

Rhonda Schrock said...

Terri, I love it. It sounds to me like you're in just the right spot. You are first a human BEing; the DOing will come, especially when He directs your steps. He's got a plan, and it will be great! Bless you for sharing your journey with us, friend.

Deborah said...

I can't say that I've ever been IN the race...I write when I have time, and when the mood strikes, I take the time....and I guess that's where my guilt comes in...feeling like I'm neglecting my family and other responsibilities to write. See....doesn't matter what we do, we're just prone to feel guilt! LOL

Stacy Henrie said...

Loved this post, Terri. It was exactly what I needed to read this week. Thanks!

Lynn said...

I love your honesty Terri. My job seems to be puling me away from writing or I may be using that as an excuse. Re-evaluating our intentions by being still is so important.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Taking a break from things that consume us is always good! *smiling*

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

As a non-fiction turned fiction writer, I can empathize. My new job has made time for blogging, Facebook, Twitter, email, and writing a challenge.

I sometimes feel pressured to race, but have decided to move at my own speed. Only God can open the doors to publication in my genre.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Julie Gillies said...

Terri,
I have taken writing breaks and ALWAYS come back refreshed--and stronger. You will, too.

You are using wisdom, my friend. Continue to place your dreams into God's hands...He will hold them for you and work out the timing and His plan for you.

Praying you find a GOOD job, my friend. (((Hugs)))

. said...

Hello, I come to via another friends blog.. I am co~author of http://heartofthehome-blog.blogspot.com/ and I enjoyed browsing your blog and wanted to introduce ourselves.. Heart of the Home is a womens ministry reaching out to women with encouragement from Gods word and his design for women as wives, mothers, friends and etc.. Hope you will get a chance to stop by and visit us, and that we can become Blogging Buddies.. Have a great weekend.. God Bless

Dawn Simon said...

I just caught up on your last two posts! I think you're smart to open yourself to all the possibilities. Sometimes stepping back allows you to rediscover the joy in something, find what got you excited about it in the first place. You're not copping out; you're analyzing.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I am so happy that you are examining your down time and trying to glean as much from begin still as you can.

intentionally being still can be as productive as hitting the ground running...God defiantly works in both situation.

Blessings
R

Sally said...

Praying for you while you look for that full time job. I've been on the hunt since January, in the education field, which is at stand still. I know the right thing is being prepared for me as it is for you. Let us remain steadfast together.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I think you are being wise, listening to God rather than the stranger's voice, and resting in His embrace.

No, I don't write to keep in the race; I write because I love it. I would write if no one but God, me and my patient husband ever read it, and my ph doesn't like devotional writing--haahahahaa!

With all that, I still need a break now and then to regroup and hear God's voice. He gets drowned out in the clamor of publishing, and I hate when that happens.

Love you,
Jen

Andrea said...

So thankful we can be honest with ourselves, GOD, and each other! It is indeed freeing to meet GOD in the midst of our writing, listen, and obey. It is that obeying I often have trouble with. I, too am back and forth with GOD, right now.

Love, hugs, and prayers,
andrea

Richard said...

Im having a writing contest.......My blog Amish Stories is having its first ever contest this week. The First prize winner will win 2 tickets to tour the farm where the 1985 move "Witness" staring Harrison Ford and Kelly Mcgillis was made in Strasburg,Pa . This farm is now Amish owned, and the family has given permission for folks to tour their farm. This may be the last time anyone will be able to walk and see the same things that Harrison Ford and the other actors saw during the making of "Witness". The Witness tour should last about 2.5 hours. In addition to the Witness farm tour tickets, 1st prize winner will also receive 2 tickets for Jacobs choice. There will also be a 2nd place prize, which will be 2 tickets for the Amish Homestead. Please go to My blog www.AmishStorys.com for contest details, and more information on the prizes. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon county.

Bluestocking Mum said...

Hi Terri

Good to find you thro' Melissa.

Hope your creative juices are bubbling after the break.

Look forward to following your posts and writing

warm wishes
Debbie

Tana Adams said...

I envy you. I want to be you.

Ann Best said...

We do need to learn to be still so we can hear the voice of the spirit or whatever one calls it; we need silence so we can "hear" what we need to hear. I've been working on this lately. Blogging and writing can get overwhelming and take us away from other important things. I want to read more books, including scriptures, for one thing.

Thanks for stopping by today. I'm finding that book promotion takes an incredible amount of time. So I'm not getting that time and space right now. But, there is a time and a season for everything...