Dramaquill's All Things Writing

March 6, 2013

Sometimes it’s good to stop writing

I’m sure many of you have had to put a long-term writing project, like a novel, on hold at one time or another. If you’re like me, I get very frustrated and stressed when other activities (like work/other writing deadlines/family issues) keep me from spending that necessary time on my next book.

Such has been the case the past couple of months. I was still writing, but there just didn’t seem to ever be enough time to spend even a few minutes on my second suspense novel.

Yesterday, I was finally able to free up a thirty minute block of time for this novel. I grabbed my notebook, the one where I had summarized all the chapters I’d written thus far, and flipped through them all to re-connect myself with all the plot details.

That took about fifteen minutes.

As I flipped onto the first blank page at the end of chapter thirty-five’s summary, ideas began to pour onto the pages, mapping out the next six chapters and leading me toward what I believe will be the ending of this book. Prior to my unscheduled break from this project, I had been struggling to see my way through the plot and definitely had no idea how things would end.

Today I may be able to spend forty-five minutes on this project – actually writing a draft of the next chapter.

So out of absence comes new-found creativity. Sometimes it IS good to stop writing.



  1. Yay, Jaclyn. Congratulations on your new-found motivation. Looking forward to reading more.

    Comment by sandycarl — March 6, 2013 @ 1:22 PM | Reply

  2. Thanks – I’m so glad there was still a spark in this book cuz I’d have hated to just let it fizzle out and die.

    Comment by dramaquill — March 6, 2013 @ 2:10 PM | Reply

  3. You make a good point. For me, the big need for rest stems for tendon issues. I type pretty well, but when I edit, I end up clicking the mouse a lot while I cut & paste and it irritates the tendon I injured last year. When the mental block comes, I just switch to the next project and work on character & plot development. That way, my mind is reinvigorated and everything’s ready to start when the current project is finished!

    Comment by Kaye Munroe — March 6, 2013 @ 2:30 PM | Reply

    • Ouch, Kaye. Tendon issues can be painful.

      You need an iPad or a touchscreen computer. No more mouse issues.

      It’s great to have enough projects to switch between – it’s also tough when you have too many LOL

      Comment by dramaquill — March 6, 2013 @ 4:06 PM | Reply

  4. I’m not sure you are looking for motivation Jacqueline. You definitely have it or you would not be frustrated with lack of time to focus. Of course life gets in the way sometimes…work can be a big distraction not to mention drain on creative energy. However it seems your work feeds the creative in you all the time. Like you, I write everyday. Always jotting notes for my novels, FB, Blogging for work, letters for causes and to friends and family, not to mention poetry which I love. I think we don’t do enough letter writing or poetry writing any more. I edit and re-create resumes and CV’s for friends sporadically which means long visits to discuss the resume and of course I find our visits when meeting to review those tasks always lead to catch up conversations about how life is going and that always rejuvenates ideas. I read and watch TV everyday, also a creative feed. Even though I may think I am not working on my novels. I am. Our brains are wonderful vaults storing information in separate lock boxes that suddenly spring open when connections are made. It’s like a windfall of epiphanies flow into our minds. When this happens for me I am compelled to revisit my novel work. I may not be physically writing into my novels for months at a time but I find that what ever I am writing during those months, I am always thinking about my novels. Once I am compelled to revisit my novel work I can’t stop until I’m spent. I might give 3-5 straight days and maybe nights to it. I guess you could say I “binge write” when it comes to novel work. Once I’ve purged my ideas on paper (so to say) I need a holiday from it before I revisit what I’ve written. Then I cannot seem to continue writing until I’ve edited which might also take a few months to complete. I admire those of you who can develop plots and map out chapter summaries, chart character development. I’ve tried but I just don’t work that way. It seems forced to me. I always know how my stories begin and end. It’s what is happening in the middle I’m not too sure about, until the lock boxes spring open and the epiphanies flow onto the page. The chapters evolve into the plot when I begin to purge. Its as if I am cleaning out the lock boxes, like cleaning out closets. You find so many things that supposedly disappeared but are re-found. You compartmentalize, organize and put things into piles… things you will keep forever, things to keep for a little while longer, things to discard, things to give away and share with others. I have no deadlines. Right now I like that.

    Comment by Cathy — March 8, 2013 @ 2:10 PM | Reply

    • Hey Cathy: Just found a request to approve this comment so I hope you don’t think I was ignoring your post. It’s great to “talk writing” with other writers. Like you, I often jump into a story by the seat of my pants and just start writing but eventually, I need to step back and figure things out to make them tighter. I know most writers say you shouldn’t stop midway to edit, but for me, that usually saves me work later on when I’m revising my first draft. I also find that belonging to a great critique group gets me *thinking* about the bigger picture, even when immersed in just getting that story down. And I also agree that creative types like ourselves always can find inspiration and creativity in other things we’re doing, even when not working on our novels. Thanks for stopping by.

      Comment by dramaquill — March 15, 2013 @ 1:07 PM | Reply

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