My Self Imposed Exile from Writing : Why and What Comes Next

I should have stopped in January. After I finished my latest manuscript, Untarnished, I had a strong feeling I was meant to break. Call me crazy, but I think God was telling me to stop writing. I didn't listen. Afterall, writing is my childhood dream, and if I stop, I'll lose momentum and with the big writer's conference only a few months away, I need to stay sharp.

Or so I thought.

I should know by now that if God wants me to do something, I should do it. When I ignore His word, I get cranky, unsettled, stuck in a funk, and this time was no different. Even though I managed to push out 15 chapters of a new book, I just felt like something was off. And it wasn't just with my writing, which began to feel dry, but with my personal life. Writing takes time. A lot of time. And not only had I been cranking out chapters, but I'd been working on my social media presence, marketing strategy, tag line, business cards, image...My mind constantly spun new ideas for my "business", which is really just me and my stories. It became an obsession, and I didn't like how much time and energy I focused on becoming a writer. Basically, I lost sight of the reason I write, and I lost the balance between writing and my family.

So I quit. A self imposed exile, the one I knew God wanted me to take months earlier.

Instead of writing, I put all my energy into, well, anything else. I played at least a hundred foosball games with my kiddo, came up with some new dinner recipes, watched tons of recorded @midnight with my hubby, read for the enjoyment rather than picking apart plots and characters, and really focused on living in the moment. Oh, and I made an outdoor scrabble board game. (Truth : If you go to Home Depot and have them cut out a massive amount of squares, you'll be asked, "Hey, what project are you using these for?" When you reply, "I'm making a giant scrabble board for outside," you'll get dead silence in response, followed by, "Hey ma'am, whatever works for you.")

I started around the end of April, and my daily prayer became, "Be still." I needed to chill out. I needed to stop the chaos in my brain, stop obsessing about the end game of writing and enjoy the process, get back to the love of writing, and putting that love in it's place.

I don't know how long I'll stay on the outskirts of Writersville, but I know it's okay to take this break. And when the time comes for me to give attention back to the characters sleeping in my head, I hope I'll have learned something from my self imposed exile.