A writing sabbatical – literary suicide for an #author or self indulgence? #writerslife

Yes, that’s right, I am genuinely asking the question   – is it ever acceptable for a a writer to take a break from writing? After all, in lots of other professions we think it perfectly acceptable, if not encourage, individuals to take some time off to develop their skills or broaden their horizons. I ask, as it’s exactly what I’m considering doing.

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Writer says… what?

I’ve paused for a moment to brace myself for an onslaught of quips about “giving up”, that “you’re not a writer if you’re not writing” or similar, but what I’m actually talking about is a period of self development.

Here’s the thing. The last three years have been a bit of whirlwind in many respects – all of it exciting, challenging and wonderful. This has been primarily been on a personal basis over the past year I would add (new baby and all that!), but also professionally with the Sophie Morgan Vampire Series being picked up and republished by Booktrope. That’s involved re-editing, designs, new marketing plans… yadayadayada. It’s also put quite a bit of pressure on to write book three which is currently about 25% through the first, utterly shameful draft. All being equal I’ll pull it out of the bag and have it out on the shelves in the summer. I have no complaints but what it hasn’t left me much time for is to enjoy books – I mean REALLY enjoy them.

What I’d like is around six months off to just read. I want to soak up other people’s words and lose myself in that long list of books that I’ve always wanted to read. I want to learn from other writers. I want to pen some stories and enter competitions and anthologies perhaps (okay, I might write some words here and there), but I want to do it without the pressure of deadlines and making sales.

I am aware that this is probably the antithesis of all the marketing advice out there – but am I wrong for just wanting to carve out some time to get better? There are projects I’d like to research. There’s new genres I’d like to read – hell, maybe there’s some literary fiction in me somewhere if I could only switch off for a second and observe life.

Am I wrong?

Answers on a postcard…

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6 thoughts on “A writing sabbatical – literary suicide for an #author or self indulgence? #writerslife

  1. Angie Atoby says:

    Hi Helen, no you are not wrong. The thing is, I never thought about it until you mentioned it, clever girl as usual. I suppose like anything else, it’s keeping things in perspective and also not feeling guilty…….along with realising that you have stepped onto a long awaited merry go round of success and are just going with the dizzy speed.

    Xxx

  2. blondeusk says:

    Hmmmm I know what you mean. I think you should look at other genres. You have that conversational tone to your writing which is magic. I think you would write an awesome thriller 🙂

  3. Jan Hawke says:

    Nothing wrong with taking time to recharge Helen! 😀 Also reading IS a valid activity for writers – not so very long ago it was the only way to learn and get new ideas. Terry Pratchett, who, before his final illness took away his dexterity, was an real keyboard geek, was always ferreting away at old books, especially Victorian esoteria, for new ideas or perspectives. If it was good enough for all those great literary heroes before the invention of film and typewriters why shouldn’t it still be for us with the amount of knowledge stored in cyberspace as well as print?
    Read away to your heart’s content, my dear – especially those gorgeous picture books that you can read aloud for that new babe of yours! 😉

    • Helen Treharne says:

      Thanks Jan! If it was good enough for the late, great Mr Pratchett it’s good enough for me! The baby loves me reading to him (currently reading Warm Bodies!). He doesn’t understand it naturally but it’s great down time for both of us. We have the entire Beatrix Potter collection and the Harry Potter’s to get through too. Some of the picture books he has are wonderful.

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