When I started serious work on the suspense over Thanksgiving break, I hadn't done much writing for 2 weeks. (I kept up with my 100 words a day simply because I still have kids in the challenge with me.) During that 2 weeks, I didn't think about my contemporaries. I didn't worry over my new suspense hero and heroine's GMCs. I worked on school related assignments and I read.
When I sat down on Saturday (2 days ago) ready for some excellent words and phrases to find their way to my paper, I received a gift. Then yesterday, the gift carried over and I spent another day writing. On Sunday I managed about 8 handwritten pages. Then I typed all those pages up, printed them out and worked on expanding the awesome scenes I had. When I got tired, I put it all away. No pressure to finish one little section or to get one more page done. I'd done well and I deserved the time off, which brings me to my point.
Don't work yourself to death! When I went through my burn-out scenario 2 weeks ago, I'd been working for about 10 months straight on writing. This last week, I learned 2 lessons.
#1: I have to take a week off here, a week off there. If I don't, I'll sink into a depression, lose my confidence and find myself overwhelmed with my characters, plots and the industry in general. Writing, I must remember, is a job and everyone needs a vacation from their job. Just because I don't get paid to write yet doesn't make it less of a job.
#2: I need to read. Yes, I know. It seems obvious, doesn't it? But I didn't realize how important it is for me to read other people's work while working on my own. Reading always keeps my creative juices flowing. The more I read, the more I want to read. The more I want to read, the more I want to write. Then I get excited again about someday having my own book in my hands and watching other people take it off the shelves. So I'm trying to work myself into a schedule which allows me to read at least a chapter a night of a book. More when I have the time or inclination, but at least a chapter a night. I know this works for me. It has in the past. It will again.
So here I am on Monday night. I'm excited to work on my chapter. I'm interested in reading Lisa Jackson's tale. My author confidence is back up, and Caitlin and I are collaborating again. I guess it does pay to take a break!