Skip to content

TAKING A HIATUS FROM WRITING

October 6, 2021

            Of course, this subject came up on the Facebook forums so I had to think about it after I gave my own answer.

            As a writer, one has to ask, why would you take a hiatus from writing?

            There are many reasons this might occur. I’m going to delve into that a bit.

WHY WRITE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

            I’m making a big assumption here, given my personal feelings about writing. To me, it’s a passion and not just a passing interest or a hobby. Therefore, if you’re like me, it’s something we have to do. There’s no room for a hiatus. There are times when we may not physically be able to due to unforeseen circumstances, but that’s NOT a hiatus. That’s life – not the same thing.

            A hiatus is a break, a respite to get away from it for one reason or another.

WHAT IS A HIATUS?

            I’m not going to go into the technical definitions from the dictionary, but for our intents and purposes, a hiatus is taking a break from writing. As I said above, this is NOT due to unforeseen circumstances, this is a break because one does not FEEL like writing for whatever reason.

UNDERLYING CAUSES

            BOREDOM – Oh please! This one is all too common, especially in today’s world of impatience and immediate gratification. A writer may hit a few roadblocks, or a bit of a creativity issue and get bored with the whole thing. The immediate gratification isn’t there. Time to take a hiatus and navel gaze for a while.

            LOST THE MUSE – This goes right along with boredom in that the writer is out of ideas for the moment and doesn’t know where to go with their story. Instead of starting something else, or maybe because they struggled with starting their initial idea in the first place, they just stop and take a hiatus.

            FRUSTRATION WITH THE BUSINESS – Oh, geez. Think even established writers are immune to this? As a writer for the past 26 years, the business is an annoying side-effect of what I do but not the main thing. For some, they cannot overcome the business side and it stifles their will to write so they take a hiatus to get away from it all.

            ABILITY TO HONE THEIR CHOPS – Some people just don’t pick up the skills (or think they do) as well as others. Some genuinely don’t get it as well as others, while some can write just fine but don’t think they do. Some will never be happy with what they write no matter what. The mix is there. The ones that can’t take the stress take a hiatus to get away from it all.

            OTHER THINGS – There are a myriad of other excuses to take a hiatus from writing, but those are the biggies. Remember, this is NOT about physical and mental things that stop you for non-writing reasons.

WHAT DO I DO?

            In 26 years so far, I have NEVER taken a hiatus from writing. As long as I’ve had a computer available to type, I’ve written. I’ve been in some pretty unusual circumstances over that time span and have still managed to write. Stress, moving, illness, temporary housing and whatever have never stopped me. I still write. It may not always be the latest MS, but it’s something almost daily. It could be a review, posts on Facebook, a short story or a new novel. Something.

            Back in 1995 when I discovered writing was a passion, I was dead serious that it was a passion and not a hobby. That’s me. I’m not you.

SHOULD YOU TAKE A HIATUS?

            A hiatus from writing is a break, a vacation from writing.

            Is it a break from some frustration? A chance to recharge your batteries? Is it a way to avoid some issue you’re having with writing?

            You need to look at why you’re writing in the first place. Is this really a passion or a hobby? Maybe you NEED a hiatus to recharge your batteries. Maybe that’s just the way you work because you’re not like me or anyone else. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break if it works the magic for you. We all operate differently. However, make sure you’re taking this hiatus for the right reasons. Also, is it really a hiatus or something else?

HOW LONG?

            The length of this break is entirely up to you. If you need to take a hiatus, nobody can give you or define what’s a time limit. You have to decide when you’re ready to come back.

            When you do, what are you going to do? By the time you’re ready to come back you should have some idea of where to start. If you ask people where to start, you probably aren’t ready yet. Someone the other day asked just this question.

SUMMARY

            I’d venture to guess that for most of us that are in this for the long haul, there’s no such thing as a hiatus. There may be breaks from writing, but they have nothing to do with a hiatus. Yet, not everyone works that way and if you do take a hiatus, you need to feel right to come back and know why, when and what you’re coming back for.

            Happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2021 3:20 am

    I have written for a living for a while now, and there were moments when I didn’t take the craft seriously. But ever since I started ‘turning pro’, as Steven Pressfield would put it, I’ve not taken a hiatus. Great post here. Thanks for sharing!

    • October 9, 2021 12:27 pm

      Stuart,

      Thanks so much for the feedback. I really appreciate it.

      All the best!

      Fred

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: