Reasons Why Writers Need Rest from Writing

by Connilyn Cossette,@ConniCossette 

One of the things I did not anticipate about becoming a published author was just how fatigued I would become during certain periods. Book launches can be grueling and overlapping editing/writing target dates can wear an author out. The closer I get to a deadline the more exhausted my poor brain becomes and I need a thesaurus just to carry on a normal conversation.

Since this has become an issue for me, I have deemed the entire month after I turn in a manuscript to my publisher as “Writercation”. During those 30 days, I do not allow myself to start any new project other than the few odd blogs (like this one) and instead take that time to whittle away at my TBR pile and read a couple of new craft books, which always help inspire me. Of course, I do spend time pulling the craziness of my house back together after marathon deadline writing but I overlap the tedium with lots of audio books and a whole lot of daydreaming about my next book.

As a result, when I do begin that next project I have cleared away the cobwebs and gotten far enough away from the former manuscript that I can come at the new story with a fresh perspective, a rested mind, and revived inspiration.

You may not have the luxury of an entire month due to publishing schedules (and in the future, I anticipate I won’t either) but have you prioritized rest into your publishing/writing calendar? Are you taking a Sabbath rest weekly? If so, are you using that rest day to do things that are actually refreshing and nourishing to your soul or are you spending that day vacuuming and doing laundry?

There is a reason that God prescribed rest from the very beginning of Creation. The bodies he designed for us cannot sustain without regular periods of rest and neither can our minds. If we do not take that command seriously we will burn out and writing will become a burden instead of a joy.

If you are pre-published now is the time to institute these periods of rest, so that when you are under a deadline in the future, you’ll already be in the habit of doing so. Make plans to explore nature, daydream, spend time with your family, or enjoy hobbies that have been put on the back burner to focus on writing. Choose something that rejuvenates you, schedule regular time to enjoy it, and I guarantee you will be a more focused, more creative, more productive writer as a result.

What are your favorite ways to rest your body and mind? Do you have regularly scheduled days off built into your writing schedule? What benefits have you seen from these breaks?

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Connilyn Cossette is the CBA Best-Selling author of the Out from Egypt Series with Bethany House Publishing. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for both an INSPY Award and a Christian Retailing’s Best Award. There’s not much she likes better than digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible, uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives in a little town near Dallas, Texas with her husband of twenty years and two awesome kids, who fill her days with laughter, joy, and inspiration. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.

4 Things to Do While Waiting for an Editor’s Feedback

There are many steps to a manuscript becoming a real book – when I hold a finished copy of my book in my hands, complete with:
Final cover
• Back cover copy
• Endorsements
• Dedication
• Acknowledgements
• Author Q&A
• Group discussion questions
• And all the chapters in between

Of course, the first step is meeting my first deadline and hitting SEND on my manuscript so that my editor can read through it and send it back to me several weeks later with comments and thoughts on how to improve my story.

But what else happens while I’m waiting for my editor’s feedback?

1. I relax. Once I hit SEND, I’m of no earthly good to anyone. As a matter of fact, I usually end up with a migraine within 24 to 48 hours of meeting my deadline. I’m prepared for it now, and keep my schedule as clear as possible right after deadline. This last time, I was a zombie-writer for a good week.
2. I give copies of my manuscript to my Preferred Readers. I have three friends who read through my manuscript once I send it to my editor. One is a writer, and the other two are similar to readers in my target audience. They’re on their third or fourth manuscript with me, and so we’ve got a system:
a. Each one has a 3-ring binder, which I store between manuscripts
b. I print off the manuscripts – either doing this myself, which requires that I also 3-hole punch them, or at Kinkos, which cost me $90 this last time. It’s either time or money, folks. Time or money.
c. We meet for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – my treat – and talk through the manuscript, chapter by chapter. We rotate who begins each chapter.
d. I take their copies home and go through them, one by one, incorporating their feedback, both positive and constructive.
3. I send copies of my manuscript to my “experts.” For Almost Like Being in Love, the second novel in my destination-wedding series, two characters were realtors and one was an AC/Heating repairman. I know nothing about either of these career fields. But I do know people who do. And both of them were willing to answer questions while I wrote. They also offered to read through the manuscript after I pushed SEND, ensuring I got things right.
4. I leave my manuscript alone. This is when my story needs to sit. Gel. Perk. However you want to say it. Once I get my combined feedback, then I will tear into my story – and nothing is sacred. I can change the beginning, the middle, the end – and anything in between. But while I’m waiting for my feedback, I do just that: I wait. I do not read my manuscript. I do not edit my manuscript. I do not rewrite manuscript.

What do you do while you’re waiting for an editor’s feedback on your manuscript?