Nearly two years ago, I had reached writer-burnout. I’d released two suspense novels back to back, done large, multi-state book tours, and was about to enter my second year of graduate school. I had moved for a new full-time job (with two growing boys) and was trying to wrap up the final pages of my third suspense novel.
But instead of buckling down to crank out edits on The World Breaks Everyone, I let it go, along with all of my social media accounts. I focused on family, my day job, and school. About five months ago, my long-time editor and friend, Laura Pepper Wu, reached out, as she’d moved back to London. Long story short, I sent her the manuscript, she sent back an editorial letter, and I’ve been steadily updating the novel ever since.
The story, set in New Orleans, begins with an attack on the daughter of a famous restauranteur. She escapes and goes on the run, attempting to figure out why someone might want her dead. I’m hoping for a July 2018 release of The World Breaks Everyone. Here’s a look at the cover! I hope you all love it. (and the book, too!)
To finish up TWBE, I’m also giving Scrivener a try(author software for word processing, outlining, & mobile app), as it has some awesome organizational tools! I’ll use a future post to let you know how I like it.
- You’re so busy you can’t think straight. Give your to-do list some love. Sometimes it takes crossing some items off your list to be able to think straight about writing!
- Your child, parents, family, partner, or pet needs attention. Seriously, life gets in the way sometimes, and you have to take care of those people you love. Let yourself off the hook and put on your mom/dad/caregiver hat!
- You aren’t happy with the writing. Most days, I try to push through the terrible chapters – after all, we are our own worst critic! However, there are times when we simply spin our wheels, editing the same page or re-writing the same paragraph. When that happens, it’s time to take a break.
- The words aren’t coming. Everyone deals with a bit of writer’s block. When this happens, I try to get a change of scenery. I find that taking a walk, exercising, or reading a book helps my creativity bounce back.
- You need to brainstorm or think about nothing at all. When the ideas and writing are not syncing, I find that it’s best to step away from the laptop. This is when I brainstorm with a best friend, make a mind map, or list ideas on notecards. Or, just lose yourself in a mindless Netflix or Hulu binge … but make it a temporary one.
I also recommend, for those of you who need an extra push organizing and prioritizing your to do , reading Get Your Sh*t Together. If you can tolerate the language, Sarah Knight’s book is funny and right on target. (I listened on Audible).
Even though I am usually eager to get a project wrapped up, taking a break for a few weeks after finishing my first draft is always a good idea. I work on brainstorming or outlining a new story or catch up on my “for pleasure” reading. After the work-in-progress percolates for a while, my brain manages to come up with additional twists or better phrasing – totally worth it — and a better story for my readers!
How about you? If you’re a writer or creative type, do you take a time out? What are your best tips and tricks?