Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Five Ways to Maximize a Writer's Break by Mary A. Felkins

Congratulations! We’ve made progress on our daily word count goal and now a well-deserved break is calling.

Shouting, maybe?

We agree to climb out of our writing cave and then what? How will we answer?

Whether we plan a break or the break comes begging... “Can we stop for a bit, please? My backside and brain is numb”... there’s wisdom in making the break count.

Otherwise, what was meant to refresh and renew the heart, mind, and spirit can result in wasted time.

Five Ways to Maximize a Writer’s Break

1) Gather names and scene ideas
It may sound counter-productive to take a break while also keeping our WIP in mind, but we can still use the time off to tune into our surroundings. The simple observation of a couple enjoying a hot dog purchased from a street vendor and shared while sitting on the dock might be a refreshing change from characters eating at a restaurant. The unexpected always adds value to our readers. Going up the road to run a quick errand? (okay, for me that means a Coke Zero from the gas station) Use the time to study people--without being creepy. We might meet someone whose demeanor inspires the creation of a new character among our current WIP cast. And not only is a kind introduction a neglected common courtesy, someone's first or last name could be a perfect fit for our WIP.

2) Don’t gather names and scene ideas
When we're led to leave our WIP behind, we may be surprised when ideas come looking for us. I’ve often gathered story inspiration when and where I least expect it. For example, working out at the gym alongside another member, learning of their upbringing, career, and/or life experiences, has provided a field ripe for harvesting character backstory. Double bonus if their first or last name is one I can use.

3) Give Our Characters the Floor
Like a child with several siblings, it could be our characters are struggling to get a word in edgewise while our busy brain has been fussing over what to do with them. Hands free from wild keyboard tapping, let’s sit still and let our characters do the talking. They might tell us what they’re feeling about what just happened or what they fear might happen next and we can incorporate their “feedback” into our stories.

4) Pray. Often.
It doesn’t matter how long or rich our time with God was in the morning if we’ve left Him in the dust by lunch time. Stuck on a scene? Plot all wrong? Characters aren’t right? God isn’t baffled. He knows our story from beginning to end and holds the final product in His hands. Let's maximize our break time by asking Him to illuminate our minds, redirect our stories if necessary, and inspire new ideas from His endless warehouse of creativity.

5) Do absolutely nothing
A break is a break for a reason. In my experience, productivity comes to a halt if I persist in writing when God has called me to rest. When away from our work, we’re free to sit outside and stare at a tree, if necessary. Great reward awaits when we completely disengage from WIP and retreat from mental writer land.

I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother…is my soul within me. Psalm 131:2 (NIV)

The best thing about taking a break is God—the Author—doesn’t need one. He never tires. And doesn't scramble to make up for "lost time" because we’ve stepped away for a few minutes.

Hours. Weeks. Or years.

He Who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:3-4 (NIV)

How do you use your writing break? I’d love to hear what’s worked (and what hasn’t) for you.

Let's maximize our break time by asking Him to illuminate our minds, redirect our stories if necessary, and inspire new ideas from His endless warehouse of creativity. @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #writerbreak #SeriouslyWrite 

The best thing about taking a writer’s break is God—the Author—doesn’t need one. He never tires.
He doesn’t scramble to make up for "lost time" because we’ve stepped away for a time. @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #writerbreak #SeriouslyWrite

Mary A. Felkins writes weekly story-style devotionals on her blog and is a contributor to Refresh, an on-line publication of Lighthouse Bible Study magazine. Her debut, inspirational romance novel, Call To Love, (www.pelicanbookgroup) will be released November 15th, 2019. The completed cover anxiously awaits being partnered with the story behind it.

Raised in Houston, Texas–and forever a Lone Star girl-she and her husband Bruce moved to the foothills of North Carolina in 1997. They have four (adolescent to young adult-sized) arrows in her quiver. She can be lured from her writing cave if presented with a large, unopened bag of Pnut M&Ms or to watch Fixer Upper. A surprise appearance by her teen idol, Donny Osmond, would also do the trick, although she’d likely pass out.

If, upon introduction, she likes your first or last name, expect to see it show up in one of her novels.

Call to Love, inspirational romance coming in November...

What if saying yes to love means trusting the kind of man you said you’d never marry? What if pursuing a woman’s heart means restoring a painful past?

Tracy Cassidy, a fiercely independent ED nurse, must choose between her dream job or staying in her hometown to help support her mother’s faltering ministry. Even if it means risking her heart in love with the kind of man she said she’d never marry.

Why sign up to be Laurelton’s next cop widow?

Tom DeLaney, a hyper-vigilant cop and new hire from Texas, is wearied by years of failed rescue attempts to save his marriage to his ex. A free man, he moves to the foothills of North Carolina. Thing is, he hadn’t expected to fall for Tracy, his supervisor’s sister. But when his adolescent son is diagnosed with a chronic illness, he faces the risk of loving another woman with keep-out issues.

Fears related to the death of Tracy’s cop father and Tom’s inability to forgive the past threaten to sabotage any chance at love.

To trust again means surrender. Will they risk their hearts and answer the call?

Connect with Mary
To receive Mary’s weekly story-style devotions and quarterly book news via email, join other #Felkinsfans at www.maryfelkins.com