The Writing Break

I feel like a slacker. I haven’t written anything in several days. For the last three years it seems like I’ve written every day, or at least every other day. But I took a break after submitting my latest book to my editor and getting an acceptance.

That doesn’t mean I’m at a writing end. I think sometimes writers need to stop writing for a little while to help recharge their brains. Instead of putting words to paper, I’ve been brainstorming in my head. I’m not a big fan of plotting. I’ve tried several different ways to plot, have taken several courses on the subject, but I’m a pantser. Nearly everything I have planned for future projects is in my head and when I’m in between works, I’ll pluck one of those ideas from my brain and ponder it.

Now, I’m not saying this method works for everyone, or that I never write anything down. I currently have six blurbs for writing projects and several opening scenes written and waiting to be worked on. And that’s the key word “waiting” because they will be written when my creative mind is ready for it.

So I’ve been playing games and brainstorming my next book. I can see my heroine so clearly. I know who she is, what she wants in life, and how she’s going to get it. It’s the hero who’s giving me fits. I wanted to take the story one way with one particular hero, but then I realized he didn’t feel “right” for her. She needed someone who is the opposite of everything she thinks she wants in life. And I may have hit upon the perfect way to bring them together while driving this morning.

That’s how it works for me. I can spend hours brainstorming in the comfort of my home, sipping a cup of coffee, staring off into space, but most of my ideas are sparked when I’m doing something routine. I’ve mentioned before that I’ll get ideas while taking a shower or brushing my teeth. This time it was while driving and it’s that spark of an idea that helps me start my stories.

I’ve been asked before, by writers and by non-writers, how I come up with my ideas. I don’t really know. They just sort of hit me like a two by four and then the story consumes my brain. Some people can plot. Others can’t. I’m in the latter category. Some people can write even when their creative juices aren’t flowing. Others can’t. Again, I’m in the latter category. I have to feel the story to put words down. If I try to force it, I end up throwing away entire scenes because it doesn’t flow well for me.

I think the most important thing to remember about writing is that no two authors are the same. We’re all as different as snowflakes and what works for one won’t work for another. You have to find your own method to writing and plotting (or not plotting) and go with it.

How do you write?


Filed under Writing

5 responses to “The Writing Break

  1. Stacy McKitrick

    I think I write pretty much like you do. I had been editing for the past six months (3 different books, mind you) and actual writing had been at a stand still. I had just finished the last of my editing projects and next was my short story. I had a problem with it and wasn’t sure how to fix it. I had planned to write this past weekend, but didn’t. So I read, instead. Then while I was at the gym this morning, walking on the treadmill, it hit me! And it was so simple. Added 500 words to the short story this morning already. I might actually get this story finished today.

    Yep, it just hits you when it wants. Can’t prod it or push it, so I don’t bother anymore. So I wouldn’t worry if I were you. Just read instead. I know you got lots of books! You deserve a break every now and then anyway. Right?

  2. My process is a lot like yours. I’m no good at plotting more than a scene or two beyond where I am at the moment in the story. Once I emabraced that and stopped trying to use the “advice” I was getting, I’ve been happier! I just go with the flow.

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