You’ve been hunched over your computer, typing every plot device that pops into your head on a page. Adopted at birth, handsome enemy, epic battle, secret powers, evil sibling, dead parents. You’re hit with inspiration; this will be the next best YA novel! You will surpass Cassandra Clare, J.K Rowling, and every paid writer on Wattpad!
You need to get writing, no breaks, or your brain juice will stop flowing. You have so many ideas, but suddenly they become too many. What was the original plot?
Now, you’re ready to toss the entire idea of creating a story, but don’t give up yet. Could you simply take a break? Here is why you should take a break from your YA writing.
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Why Should You Take a Break From Your YA Writing?
Don’t be scared of taking breaks
As a YA writer myself, I understand breaks can be hits or misses. Yeah take a short break, which turns into a long break, which turns into forgetting your piece of writing. But breaks are necessary! Taking a break does not mean you’re giving up.
Breaks allow writers to come back to their work with a clear mind. A clear mind is a clean slate that is not crazed with ideas or closed by a fixed mindset. A clear mind doesn’t dismiss all the progress you have made so far, either. Having a clear mind is also important when editing your work, so you can fix plot holes and ideas that haven’t been fully formed.
Taking breaks allows writers to prevent burnout and gain a new perspective. This critical point of view is a key tool when you are creating YA writing.
Victoria Aveyard, author of the Red Queen series, recommends finishing your first draft and doing the editing and tweaking after a break to keep yourself feeling motivated and inspired. This will make it easier to notice mistakes in your YA novel that you skipped over the first time. A new perspective might even urge you to change your focus or add new ideas.
You may also like: 4 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Doubt on Your YA Book Project
Why breaks are important
The most important time to take a break is between your first draft and your revising stage. Many YA writers feel attached to their first draft and do not take criticism lightly, even from themselves.
If you don’t take breaks, this could severely damage your mental health. Brittany Johnson, a licensed mental health counselor, tells Architectural Digest, “Taking breaks allows your brain and body to get the necessary recharge it needs to keep going.” Depriving yourself from breaks by feeling you need to better yourself will only negatively impact your performance and mental health in the long run.
What to do during your writing break
Many authors recommend never taking breaks or days off from your writing, as it might make you fumble the creativity ball. Stephen King has a daily count of 2,000 words and recommends writing every day. While consistent writing habits are essential for growing your writing skills, breaks are good.
This is especially true if you are working on a large project such as a YA novel or series. Rachel Toalson, author of the kid-lit series Fairendale, claims that there’s no shame in starting projects and putting them to the side, as long as they don’t stay there.
Taking a break doesn’t mean you can’t write! A good way to take a break without taking a break from writing is to try fun writing exercises. Create original characters or ideas like a certain setting. Write these sketches down—it could help during your next writing block!
Another writing idea is if you have a specific word you’ve been running through your head, try to make a story surrounding that word! It can be a name, a place, a thing, a feeling. It’s a mind-blowing exercise that helps grow your creativity.
You’ll be better in the end
Breaks are especially necessary when you’re having a bad writing day. Artists in all forms of crafts struggle from bad days. These days are ways of saying you need a break. YA author Rick Riordan says that as a writer, he made time to write. If you can make time to write, you can make time to take a break from your YA writing.
As a YA writer, I know taking breaks feels like giving up at times, but it’s not. It’s just a break. A time to rest. Take a break from your YA writing, whether it’s your next YA novel or writing for yourself or writing for a blog. Too much of anything is bad for you, and this applies to writing as well!
Final thoughts on taking a break from your YA writing
So the next time you feel yourself struggling under the pressure you put on yourself, take a much-needed break. Or if you’re caught in a writing block, try inspiring writing exercises! There’s no shame in taking a break from your YA writing projects, as long as you return to them.
If renowned YA writers take a break from their writing, you can too. Taking a break will allow you to come back reset, refreshed, and ready to write. Treat yourself, you deserve it!