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.

No More Honeymoon

So. How is NaNoWriMo going?

Day 7. If you’ve written every day, then you’re probably past the honeymoon stage. Past those first three chapters where you’ve met your characters, hung out, decided you wanted to go on a journey together.

Which means now you’re in the slew. That flat, mucky, weedy expanse that can slow you down, trap you. You might even find yourself sinking.

And here’s what you’re hearing.

“You’re lost—where are you going with this story?”

“You could be doing other things…like reading a great book. Or watching football.”

“Who said you were a writer…have you read this stuff?”

“You’ll never finish this book anyway, so why are you investing all this time?”

STOP!! DON’T LISTEN. (and if you’re wondering where I got those statements, I just had to listen to my own voices!)

Here’s the truthwhenever we set out to do something brilliant, impactful and potentially life-changing, (even if it is just our own lives), THERE WILL BE OPPOSITION.

Doubts. Fears. Spiritual warfare.

Because the forces of darkness do not want LIGHT in this world. And that’s what your story is—Light. Truth. Redemption. Hope. (Every great story has these elements…the hero being redeemed and overcoming by the power of truth and hope!)

That’s what YOUR story is, too.

You are doing something powerful. Something that matters. Expect opposition, my friend.

So…what do you do?

First—keep your perspective.Your story matters, no matter what reach it has.

Then—Make mini-goals. Just do today’s work. (or, as we say in the Warren house…just do the next thing…you’ll eventually get there!) Hey, that is what NaNoWriMo is all about…

Finally—Join us this week for a Novel.Academy Story Spark Peptalk.

Are you struggling with your NanoWrimo story? Need a jumpstart? Sometimes we just need a fresh idea on how to start a chapter, add a twist, or deepen our characters. This week in our weekly Peptalk, we’re offering 7 Sparks to ignite your NanoWrimo.

Join us Thursday, November 10, 7pm CST.


 

If you want to attend, (and we do want you to!) we need to send you an invitation…so, please sign up HERE. Even if you can’t make it, we’ll send you a copy of the replay.

Your story matters. Go, write something brilliant!

Susie May

www.learnhowtowriteanovel.com

Novel.Academy

 

I ain’t gonna quit yet…

Happy Monday morning! It’s going to be a great writing week!

So there we were sitting in the bleachers for the first home game of the season. The sun arched high, hot on our skin, the fans ignited by the thrill of a new season of football, the smell of the tailgate grills stirring our need for a burger…

And our boys on the field were falling apart. After a fantastic first half, they’d come out and handed the game away to our rather nasty opponents until the moment, with 1:35 left in the game, we fell behind by six points.

I mentioned that we had 1.35 left in the game, right? We got the ball on the 25 yard line and a thread of despair filtered through the crowd.

You know what happened next. Like any great football story, the team rallied. They threw a 25 yard pass. Ran the ball, threw another pass and made a quick dash for the end zone.

We were on our feet for the extra point, already cheering our win.

Easy-peasy.

Except, to our horror, a defender got a hand on it and our dreams died as the ball alley-ooped wide of the goalpost.

We lost in overtime.

Crushing, after our rally. And, our second defeat of the season. The sun suddenly seemed a scorcher, and we become well aware of our sunburns and empty stomachs, defeat bitter in our gut.

It feels a little like that moment when you hear a publisher is bringing your book to committee, trying to decide if they want to buy it only to hear that they passed. Or worse, rejected it with “some revisions” and you work furiously with the wild hope you might get picked up next time.

Only to have them say no.

Or maybe you’ve worked hard on a novel only to have it panned by reviewers even though your beta readers loved it.

Or you’ve written an entire story for the first time in your life—only to have an editor say, “it needs more work.”

Whatchya gonna do?

Do you want it? Enough to let your bruises heal, get your head back in the game and go to work again? Because that’s when you look inside and say…WHY? Why do I want this?

Hopefully its because you know your story matters. Remember, getting published isn’t magic—it’s hard work.

But here are some truths the might help you get back up.

  1. No one can write the story that you’ve been given. Only you see the unique view, only you can tell from the truths you’ve learned.
  2. If you don’t get back up and keep fighting, you’ll never discover the truth you’re meant to learn in the journey. And you’ll never realize the feeling of knowing you did something that your heart called you to do.
  3. And, if your story is destined to be published and you never find the strength to give it to the world, the truths in it will never find a home in a reader’s heart. They will never be changed. Or blessed.

Your story matters. And the journey to writing your story matters.

Get back up. Get your head in the game. Don’t give up.

Because next time, you just might win.

Go write something brilliant!

smw sig without background

 

 

 

Susie May

P.S. This week in Novel.Academy, we’re going to be talking about how to take your dreams and put them into a workable plan for true impactvitiy. Join us for Fall enrollment for only $20/mo. ($20/month or $200/year) Check out Novel.Academy and get the tools to write a brilliant novel!

To be Published you have to Kill the Wimp

Hey friends! Something cool is on the horizon! I partnered with amazing writing coaches — James Scott Bell, Mary DeMuth, Karen Ball, Erin Taylor Young, Tricia Goyer, Cindy Coloma, Erin McPhearson, and Allie Pleiter, to create an AMAZING  book on how to have writing success called…well, Writing Success!  It’s only 99¢ during PREORDER!  (comes out October 27th!)  Pick it up here!

 

Today, I’m excited to feature a guest post by one of the authors (and my great friend!) Mary DeMuth

 

Seasoned and nubile writers scribble notes while the lecturer shares her publishing expertise. Both a magazine editor and a creative writing professor, Sandra Glahn teaches the workshop “The View from the Editor’s Desk” where she extols the benefits of beefy verbs and pines for the demise of adverb overuse. She finishes her time with the writer’s group by asking, “Any questions?”

 

A woman in the back raises her hand. “You mean I need to go through all my past manuscripts and make the changes you suggested in your lecture?”

 

Sandra nods. “Yes, if you want to be published.”

 

“That’s too much work,” she says. She never returns to the group.

 

Writing isn’t for wimps. It’s an arduous adventure where writers scale an ever-increasing learning curve. For beginning to advanced writers, the question remains: What do you do with the new knowledge you’ve gained from that writing seminar, book, or lecture? Stop learning? Embrace your inner wimp? Push through and improve the craft? The following are four ways writers can react to learning new techniques and skills. Two ways coddle the inner wimp; two others kill him.

 

Embrace your inner wimp by giving up. Those editors and educators don’t know a thing about your genius! They can’t recognize stellar, winsome prose, or seize upon your raw talent. What do they know?

 

George starts writing, believing his second grade teacher to be a prophet. “You’re a terrific writer,” she penned across his summer vacation story in happy red ink. He’s coddled that affirmation all these years—something that’s hardened him to actual feedback. After several attempts to convince fellow writers of his abilities, he gives up. George stores his spy thrillers in a box in the garage, spending his days looking up his second grade teacher on Facebook. He’s embraced the wimp, lazing around the Internet, murmuring about what could have been.

 

Feed your inner wimp by submitting subpar writing. I call this the delusional, yet hopeful writer—one who believes she’ll break through by submitting, submitting, submitting.

 

Edna comes to writer’s group month after month, bringing the same story in increments of five pages. Although the group has kindly reminded her to flee passive voice and curtail her purple prose, she continues to stubbornly adhere to her ways. She submits faithfully to contests and the occasional publisher who takes unsolicited manuscripts, and she garners rejections aplenty. She never learns; it seems beneath her. She will never be published, but she is sure she will be. She feeds the wimp, preferring lazy writing with a kick of tenacity to genuine improvement.

 

Kill the wimp inside by grunting through your old drafts. If you’re wondering what the publishing process is like, take an old piece of yours and rip it to shreds in light of what you know now. When you sell your first book, you’ll experience the same kind of work—agonizing over run on sentences, discovering, then slaying, your pet words and phrases, killing clichés, cutting paragraphs and chapters that don’t propel the reader forward. It’s never too late to go back and fix things, but be warned: sometimes it’s better to let those stories and articles go. You could mire yourself in your inadequate past.

 

I’ve taken unsold articles, revamped them, and sold them. I’ve tried to resurrect my first (yet unpublished) novel several times, resuscitating my flabby descriptions and plot flaws, only to tangle myself inside the story, weary and unmotivated. I’ve killed the wimp by grunting through, sometimes with success, sometimes without.

 

Kill the wimp inside by forging ahead. When you’ve discovered your penchant for adjectives, instead of slaying them in the cobwebs of past documents, move boldly forward, writing clean, powerful sentences chock full of strong nouns and verbs. Sometimes it’s right to turn the page of your past body of work in order to construct better pages today. Give yourself permission to say goodbye, so you can say hello to great writing in the present.

 

Mayla wrote four good novels. During the process, she read writing books, attended conferences, and welcomed hard critique. She views her books as stepping-stones to publication, but she won’t resurrect them. Instead, she pens a new novel, armed with new expertise. The result? She’s a finalist in a prestigious first-novel contest, and an agent has requested the full manuscript. She has successfully killed the wimp by moving forward.

 

Place yourself in a writer’s group. Hear a lecture about strengthening your prose and take notes. Raise your hand. Instead of lamenting all the changes you’ll have to make now that you know better, simply tell the lecturer thank you, and vow to kill the wimp lurking inside.

 

(Did I mention that Mary’s Book: Th 11 Secrets of Getting Published is included in the AMAZING collection: Writing Success–6 books by 6 writing coaches for 99¢!!  Preorder it here!)

 

Mary DemuthBIO:  Mary is the author of thirty books, including her latest: The Day I Met Jesus: The Revealing Diaries of Five Women from the Gospels. She has spoken around the world about God’s ability to uncage a life, bringing needed freedom to her audiences.  She’s been on the 700 Club, spoken in Munich, Cape Town, and Monte Carlo, and planted a church with her family in southern France. Her best work? Being a mom to three amazing young adults and the wife of nearly 25 years to Patrick. She makes her home in Dallas alongside her husband, and two dueling cats. Find out more at marydemuth.com.

Connect with her at: (@MaryDeMuth, MaryDeMuth.com, Facebook.com/authorMaryDeMuth)