Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When it’s Okay to Quit

Yes, I said it. That horribly offensive, terribly bad word I’ve spent so many years warning you to avoid. And I’m going to say it again in this post. But don’t worry, it’s not what you think.

After seven years of writing, submitting, querying, rejections…last week, I decided to quit.

Granted, I’m not crazy enough to even pretend to believe that I could stop for good. But I gave myself permission to take a much needed break. No matter that I didn’t realize (at the time) that was what I needed most. After an epic meltdown, I realized I was being way too hard on myself, and that I was requiring more than I could give, physically or emotionally.

So I quit. And I haven’t written anything (aside from email, and now this blog) since.

I’ve caught up on some sleep, seen The Hunger Games movie twice, finished a book on my to-be-read pile and started another one, washed all the clothes in my laundry room (a major feat, FYI), mopped my kitchen floor, and had lunch with some really incredible friends. Also, I threw my daughter a huge birthday party.

All that in a few days. And guess what? I’m feeling better. Maybe not quite ready to dedicate myself to writing the way I have been, but better. I’ll get back to it. I will. You all know I’m really not a quitter. But even the most determined of us need to take mental, emotional, and physical breaks every so often.

And you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay to be human. Because, really, being robots doesn’t sound like much fun.

So tell me. When’s the last time you decided to take a break?


Rebecca Belliston said...

Wow. I'm impressed. I'm headed for a much needed down-time session, pushing myself beyond my mental capacity. Plus, the laundry is piled high. Those breaks are so great to recharge. Once I finish this round of edits, I plan on taking a few weeks off. Whew! (Loved the Hunger Games, btw--so awesome). Good luck with your time off. :)

Carolyn V said...

I find myself needing breaks every now and then. It really helps. It's too easy for me to get burned out. (And you got a ton done on your break! Wow!) The last break I took was a month or two ago. I really, really needed it!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

I've been taking a very long break. It's been too long and I'm having a hard time disciplining myself enough to get back to the writing. Hopefully the LDStorymakers conference that's coming up will help!

L.T. Elliot said...

Breaks are definitely needed. Sometimes when your heart is just too sore, you need to live life outside of dreams because it refills you. I'm glad you're taking care of you--and not quitting. =D

Angie said...

It's so important to know when to step back for a bit. I take a mini-break from life every morning to meditate. It's life saving! Hang in there.

Maria Hoagland said...

I haven't made mine official, but it seems I've been taking one, too. I didn't submit to my critique group, I completely checked out of the March-a-thon, and instead have been reading, prepping for a garage sale, spending time w/ and worrying about my kids. I hope it helps get me back on track, too, but I don't think the goal I set to have my book ready to pitch at Storymakers is going to happen. Maybe instead, I'll just go, enjoy, and be recharged.