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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Why I Have a Hard Time Taking a Break

Why I Have a Hard Time Taking a Break

Some writers talk about setting word count goals because they have a hard time sitting down and committing to writing. Me, I have a hard time staying away.
In the last week of June, I finished revisions for THE EIGHTH DAY #1, and it went into copy-editing. About a week ago, I finished the fourth draft of THE EIGHTH DAY #2. I’m letting that one rest a couple weeks before I read it through again, make any necessary changes, and submit it to my editor at the end of July.
Most people would say I deserve a break, and I know myself well enough to believe that taking a break is good for my creativity – especially since the next task is to plan THE EIGHTH DAY #3 enough to start drafting. Turning away from the project, reading books for pleasure, watching TV, and fooling around on the internet are all good ways to let ideas simmer in the subconscious. (Proof: I saw a video on Facebook of a flooded stream demolishing a section of highway and got an idea for a potential scene.)
But I have a REALLY hard time leaving this project alone. I feel like summer days are burning away, and I don’t want to waste even one. Soon enough, fall will come, and this school year promises to be more demanding than most. (New curriculum, new report card, new online grade book, new teaching partner, new teacher evaluation process, new mandatory teacher website with daily updated homework … need I continue?)
If  I were Sarah Fine, no worries – I would just write another book (or two or three) while I’m waiting for the plot line of TED #3 to work itself out. But I don’t flip between projects that easily – or write first drafts that fast.
Being a hopeless, incurable pantster, I wonder how long it will be before I open up a blank

document and dive into Chapters 1 and 2 (kinda planned already) with no idea where I’ll be headed in Chapter 3? Not long, I suspect.

Sometimes you gotta let the shark swallow you and cut yourself out with a chainsaw afterwards, right? #SharkNado

22 Responses to Why I Have a Hard Time Taking a Break

  1. I think you definitely deserve taking a break every once in a while my friend 🙂

    And I can’t believe I didn’t see SharkNado!

  2. Robin says:

    Sounds like your next school year will be quite the challenge. I don’t blame you for wanting to dig in and get a ton of writing done, but I do hope you get some good mini-breaks!

    I’ve been moving instead of writing for the past month and it’s weird to have been away from my MS for so long. That said, pat yourself on the back for all that you’ve accomplished the The Eighth Day 1 and 2.

    I doubt diving blindly into Book 3 will hurt anything and it might get some wheels turning for you:)

    Happy Summer!

  3. Linda G. says:

    Watch out for the Sharknado!

    You DO deserve a break–that is one hectic schedule. But you know what? I’ve always considered sitting down and writing what I want to write (whatever is calling out to me) to BE a break. Maybe it’s that way for you, too? 🙂

  4. Julie Dao says:

    That’s amazing that you have a hard time staying away from writing! I understand what you mean about wanting to make the most of your time, though. Maybe all you need is a shorter break, like say, one day of shopping or going to the spa, then back to the book the next day.

  5. Dianne, I think this shows that writing for you is a passion and not just a job. Write on!

  6. My thinking time is throwing all sorts of ideas in the air. I have no idea how it’s all going to fit together at this point though.

  7. Hi Dianne .. I like to keep on working when there’s work to be done – yet the time will come to stop take a break .. have a kit-kat, if you’re lucky, and generally relax .. otherwise I find I prefer to keep on going .. as Linda says “Write on!”

    Cheers Hilary

  8. mshatch says:

    I agree, taking a break once in a while is good but I can relate how hard it is to actually do it. I feel like I can’t waste a minute sometimes.

  9. Working full-time too, I can relate to you not wanting to take a break, especially since you’re off in the summer. With publishing deadlines, I wouldn’t take them either if working and writing. I do take lots of breaks from my writing now but they aren’t breaks from working, blogging, and getting my daughter everywhere. I’d love a break where I could be lazy even for a few days. Sigh. It’s not happening.

  10. Tiana Smith says:

    For me, it depends on what part of the project I’m currently working on. If it’s the beginning, I can’t stop. If it’s the end, I can’t stop. But if it’s about mid-way … well, then I really have to buckle down and force myself to write!

  11. Jemi Fraser says:

    Summer is indeed zooming – I hate wasting any days either. I’ve got a new curriculum to polish up on too – but thankfully we don’t have some of those other things you’ve mentioned – talk about overload!

  12. J E Oneil says:

    Pantsing is so much fun! There’s nothing better than diving in with no idea where you’re going. And it sounds like everything you’re doing is working. The plot will straighten out.

  13. Susan Oloier says:

    I don’t blame you for taking advantage of the summer months. Teaching is more than a full-time job.

  14. Lexa Cain says:

    Yup, pantsing is just like Sharknado! LOL

    I think it’s great that you’re so dedicated. I’ve been trying to get my BIC, and I keep promising my CPs I’ll start something soon…but I haven’t actually managed to do anything other than outline. 😛

  15. Yeah. It’s quite the addiction, isn’t it, this writing thing? Love that picture!

  16. I think taking a break *IS* when you write… I know I love the feeling of getting away from it all (even if I’m sat at the kitchen table while dirty dishes mock me 🙂

    Thanks for making me feel better as a trainee pantser 🙂

    PS… My wife laughed out loud when she read your comment – and *no* she wasn’t weighing her options :)~

  17. Hi, Dianne. Although I say you deserve a break, you know what works best for you. Enjoy your summer!

  18. I have a word count goal because there is a lot on my plate and it’s easy to want to take that load off while nothing gets written in the process. This ensures that my WiP grows each day, if only a little. 🙂

  19. Sherry Ellis says:

    I have a hard time taking a break, too, because I feel like I lose momentum. But sometimes a break helps us clear our heads and see thing with fresh eyes. So go ahead and take that break if you need it!

  20. Congratulations on turning TED1 over to copy editing, that is huge!!!

    I’m forcing myself to rest for a couple weeks until I get my next project back from my editor instead of working on the one to come after that because I know it needs to sit a bit so I can approach it with a fresh outlook after the current project is done. It’s not something I enjoy, the resting, but it’s something I have learned that I really need.

    Hope you are enjoying your summer! It’ll be over before you know it!


  21. T. Drecker says:

    If you can’t stay away from writing, I’d say write. Those days of forcing the way to the story come often enough as it is.
    However, breaks are good. It’s amazing how much inspiration even a little one can bring.

  22. That’s right — jump right on into that shark and see what happens. I feel the same way about my summers; I go back to work on 8/12, and I want to make the most of every writing opportunity I have over the next few weeks. But at the same time, when my classes of 7th and 8th graders return, I want to feel like I’ve had a break for a few weeks. I want to be fresh, ready to tackle all the new challenges. It’s a balancing act, mos def.