Just recently, I gave myself permission to take a fictional break. This wasn't because I had no stories to write or possible yummies to outline for the future but because I just needed to quit hurting myself. Most of you know that I graduated college last year and I headed straight into several new projects that were consuming me but I'm allowing myself to step back and observe more than act.
I've written my first gothic, have 1.25 books written in a series, and allowed myself to play with an idea that hit me one night that has completely made an about face. It was supposed to be a paranormal romance but has turned into a contemporary. That's strange for me but I'm accepting it. Tossing scenes onto the page when they strike me has been my goal but without the pressure to get it completed by any certain date. I'm working two jobs right now so I need a couple of stories to be read over before I submit them and my anxiety has crept up to bite me in the ankle.
So, for 6 weeks I set aside and vegged on more than my couch. I told my muse there was no rush and fought to not feel guilty when I sat down with no words to write. I just played about with a few different things and let myself indulge in a few television shows plus the rambling of ideas to my hubby. Being that I'm always on the go, it was hard to start doing this but I have to do something before I put myself back into that frame of mind that had me choking up at any moment of internal tension and drama.
I've made it four weeks and by not putting pressure on my thought patterns, I've already written more in the last few weeks than I did when I had two deadlines. Go Figure! I don't get it, but it's fact. I was astounded when I paid attention to the word count and page count that were adding up when I would only sit down to type during maybe four lunch hours during my work week. Thinking it over, I believe that my plotting during sedentary moments, (driving in traffic, showering, and such) were the times that I giggled over what I could do to my characters next and then BAM, there was a scene in my head.
So, if you're a bit overwhelmed and don't have a contract looming over your research filled brain, then allow yourself a vacation from fiction and see if it helps with any slump you may be having. It was worth a try for me and I may continue to do it the rest of the year as I just write whatever comes to mind on the next few manuscripts.