WAKE UP! No sleeping, no down time, no snoozing away the idle hours while you wait. Whether you are waiting for a trusted friend to critique your work, an agent to fall madly in love with you or a publisher to send that all important letter, you keep working my friend.

One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is to sit idle while they wait. Dig out one of those old ideas and get it ready to submit. Write a few flash fiction stories to make a quick buck. Have a brainstorming session and come up with some new plots. Think up some truly black, black moments for future stories. (Those involving an editor, publisher or agent might be fun!) Brush up on your grammar and punctuation. (Say aacckk!) Check out other agents and publishers in case these don’t love you and your work. Submit multiple submissions if allowed. Try your hand at a new genre just for fun. Go to a writer’s workshop to get refreshed. In other words: keep the juices flowing while you wait.

If you absolutely have to take a writing break then set a time limit. Give yourself no more than one week of down time and stay productive in other ways. Clean your house from stem to stern. Catch up on your honey-do list and if they’ve been feeling a little neglected, your honey too. Read and watch some three hankie books and movies. Get your hair and nails done. Go lie in the grass and watch the bugs crawl around.

Do whatever turns your crank except sit and worry about what is happening to your “baby.” Worrying won’t change a thing and won’t make the powers that be move one iota faster. So relax, enjoy, get refreshed and keep writing. Your best selling novel is only a keystroke away.


Joan Vincent said...

Right on, Becky! Your writing career can be forestalled by taking too long a break. Agents and publishers want production. You have to be able not only to write but to prove you can write consistently. Having another book ready to offer when you're first is purchased means a second sale. That's what happened for me when I sold my first book--I actually sold two.

Becky A said...

Hi Joan,
Now if I could just make myself take my own advice!!!! It is too easy to get sidetracked these days with whatever bunny trail looks the most appealing. I'm glad that I have such great examples at WARA to look up to.
Thanks for stopping by, Becky

Pat Davids said...

Great post, Becky. I know from personal experience that when you stop writing it is really hard to get going again.

The best thing you can do is get another book done while you are waiting.

Reese Mobley said...

Great insight, Becky. If we keep writing we will make it in the publishing business. Positive thoughts help too.

Becky A said...

Hi Pat, Hi Reese,
I think that when you stop writing for awhile your mind starts doing a number on you. Insecurity kicks in and gets you to question your ability which starts a vicious circle where on one hand you berate yourself for not working, and the other tells you why you shouldn't even bother. Or maybe I just have a split personality that loves to do nothing productive!
What about you? What stops you from writing when you know you should?
While positive thoughts are a great help sometimes we just need a good swift kick in the britches. Ok, maybe it's just me!
My drama queen must be running amok or maybe I'm just wasting time to avoid writing. :)

Rox Delaney said...

Good points, Becky!

Critique partners are always good for a swift kick. After being asked what you're writing and giving a mumbling answer about not doing much lately, most critique partners--the good ones--will provide the impetus needed. One of mine has a size 5 1/2 she's firmly planted on my backside more than once. Family won't. Non-writing friends won't.

You aren't part of a critique group? You don't have a critique partner? Any writing friend will do, whether it's through a face-to-face group like WARA or an online writing friend. Let this person or these persons know you're in a writing lull, and you'll find plenty of help to get you moving again on the page.

Just one good reason to have to be accountable to at least one other person. It's too easy to let it slide to be accountable only to yourself.

Have you tried our BIAW lately? :)

Starla Kaye said...

It is always nice to have a breather between books...but only a short one. For me, when I don't drag myself out to the Y to exercise, I get out of the habit of going. I talk constantly about getting started exercising again, but do I actually do it? No.

There have been very few periods of time the last few years when I take breaks from writing. Because I learned that it's the same as exercising for me. I get lazy and find other things to do. But I also get cranky when I'm not writing at least somewhat regularly. I have all these characters that have things to say, to do, to complicate my life by having to tell their stories.

But each of us works differently. I just know that when I don't exercise my writing brain...well, I get frustrated.

You mentioned taking time to clean your house, etc. I do that kind of stuff when I'm facing a deadline. I panic, in a way, avoid the task, and then get my rear in gear and stop cleaning everything in sight and finish whatever it is I promised to get done.

Nina Sipes said...

Your post was perfectly on target. Just yesterday I finally admitted defeat on a project I've had going for over three years. I asked a couple of folks who were familiar with it, where they'd go next with the story. Those conversations spawned enough help, that I can go forward. I thought it was me, that something was wrong and that my imagination had dried up. It hadn't. I had merely written myself into an invisible corner. Talking about the story allowed me to see exactly which character needed to be expressed next and what they needed to do. What was great about it, was that the people I talked to kept their own ideas low key and let me bounce some logistics off of them. I'm so excited. Too bad I have to go and take care of some of those promises I made while I was avoiding writing.
Dang it!