Beyond Words: Harvesting Vowels & Consonants to Write Again

Cherries for Harvest. Image courtesy of stock.xchng®While I wouldn’t describe myself as an all-or-nothing person, I’m not exactly known for having a steady, ramp-up approach to life. Friends and family know me as giving my all to those I love. Clients know me as someone who can jump into a copywriting gig when there’s very little time and direction.

It’s shouldn’t have been a surprise that in the same month I set an aggressive goal for my writing project, that I also had the busiest 30 days with copywriting since striking out on my own. Last week alone, between my own writing, this blog and client work, I produced about 45 pages of text.

Now you know why there was no Monday post here at a.k.a writer! I could not find a word to put on the page. Not one. I wouldn’t call it writer’s block.

I was tired of writing.

Okay, I can’t believe I wrote that. But it’s true. All I had done for more than 10 days was type at my laptop and read (mostly out loud, while proofreading).

I didn’t want to write another word.

What helped? Taking a weekend off. From late Friday afternoon until Monday morning, I didn’t write. I didn’t respond to email or Facebook messages. I wasn’t on Twitter and I wasn’t blogging. So what did I do? I went to a movie, walked, watched TV, ran errands (okay, I didn’t run, but I walked on my own two fee) and relaxed. Not anything spectacular, but my brain needed a break.

When I powered up my laptop on Monday, I felt refreshed and energized. The copy I wrote for a favorite client that day had a freshness to it that I couldn’t begin to imagine on Friday. Taking a short breather made a huge difference.

What about you? How do you manage to replenish vowels and consonants so you can write again? Have you ever had to take a lengthy break (like two weeks) to get back that spark for writing?

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6 thoughts on “Beyond Words: Harvesting Vowels & Consonants to Write Again

  1. Hi Jessica, I’m glad you found this blog! As “Jessica Long” I bet you got lots of Jessica Lang jokes – I get quite a few and my first name isn’t even spelled the same.

    You make a really lovely point about taking time to grieve. Writing is such a rejection-filled business that it’s easy to think we should always push through. And we should, but sometimes you need to take that pause, or break, so that you can move forward.

    Looking forward to more of your comments!

  2. Before I comment, I have to mention that my maiden name was Long, so I too, used to be Jessica Long. 😉

    After the rejection of my first manuscript for a novel, I have to admit, even though I suspected it wouldn’t get accepted, it caused me to stumble more than I would have thought. I had already decided that I would just get back on the horse if the pending rejection came… After all, I read the stats, it’s rare for a new writer to get published right out of the gate. I’ve completed 3 novels, only submitted one. I was having new ideas daily. So there was a lot of reasons to be hopeful.

    But after the rejection,the ideas stopped. The words wouldn’t come. I told myself to buck up, but in the end I found I needed to take time to grieve.

    What followed was a week of not wanting to write, then attempting to rewrite my book, to getting books on writing and doing the exercises. Eventually, I ended up starting a new manuscript altogether.

    I will probably come back to the book that was rejected and rewrite it, but for now, I need to let my characters rest, we need a break from each other.

    Great blog, I’m a new follower and look forward to more!

  3. Thanks for both of your great comments. Vacations are such a nice way to spur the creativity!

    David, I especially like your comparison to the gym, though I think I’m glad I have more discipline towards writing than to hitting gym.

  4. I’ve never overloaded my circuits quite like that, but I usually find that it’s much like the gym: I can’t overdo it or the quality of the work will begin to slip. This is especially true when I’m editing and need to be careful about the desire to expound or cut.

    Usually i have the opposite problem: I go on vacation, get derailed by the day job and then it’s even more like the gym. Getting back into the habit becomes harder and harder the longer I’m away.

    Sounds like a weekend off from writing and unplugged from the digital world is just what you needed!

  5. I agree that sometimes the best cure is just some time away from the computer. I also do usually find myself newly energized when I return from a vacation, so a longer period of time off can help spur creativity too.

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