Doing Less and Being Okay With it (+ how living life is the greatest writing experience of all)

In my last newsletter I went into a topic that has been on my heart for a little while now. It’s something that I don’t feel is talked about much in the writing world. Or, if it is, I don’t hear about it much. So if you need to hear it, here it is:

It’s okay to do less, even when you’re wishing you were doing more.

As a writer, I think we have a lot of pressure to always be pounding out content, to always be writing our next novel or our next story, we’re always expected to be doing more. It’s like people forget we’re only human and can only do so much. I think sometimes we forget that as well.

I fall into the trap as well. So often I try to push myself to write more, to do more, to be more. But I can only stretch myself so far because, well, as I said, I’m human. When people push themselves too far, that’s when they go into burn out and an over all feeling of “done”. That’s probably not the most eloquent way to put it, but that’s how I feel. XD Done with life.

This isn’t a healthy place to be in, folks.

Writing is a form of art, and art comes from a special place inside us. It’s not something you can just force yourself to do—you have to feel it. And when all you’re feeling is burn out, you can no longer feel your art.

As I’m sure you all know by now, I have been working on edits with my current novel for… a long time. XD Okay, in all fairness, it’s only been a few months. But it feels like so much longer. This is the first time that I’ve ever edited one of my novels so it’s been a huge learning process (which has been part of the reason for how long it’s taken).

It’s been hard for me to spend so long on one project because I’m generally a fast writer and can finish a novel in a short time frame. Actually, I wrote this novel faster than I’m now editing it. I’ve been pretty down on myself for that.

But what I’ve been learning lately, and am still learning, is that it’s okay to do less. It’s okay to take longer at a project. It’s even okay to go weeks without writing at all (or editing in my case). It’s okay.

Something I heard Nadine Brandes say on a webinar a while back and has still stuck with me because it was so good, is that even if you’re going through an off season with writing, you’re still learning because you’re living life.

Read that again and let it soak in for a second.

Even if you’re not writing, you’re still learning because you’re living life.

This actually goes back to what I was saying in my recent post about priorities. For too long writing was over living my own life on my priority list. But it can’t be. Because that’s what leads into burn out and an altogether unsatisfied life.

When you’re living your life you can’t help but have adventures, fun moments, and inspiration that can be pulled from for your stories. But not only that, stories are full of life lessons and themes that you can’t know about unless you learn them yourself through living life! (Not to say you can’t write about a theme you don’t have experience with. I mean, you can do anything in fiction, right? But it does become more impactful for the readers, and for you, when you’ve gone through it yourself.)

For a long time I lived with the belief that I needed to be writing, writing, writing. Always. Constantly. I couldn’t lose that consistency. For a time, maybe that was what I needed when I was trying to learn consistency. Maybe you’ll go through a time when you need that as well.

But you can’t always live that way.

Because you’re not living if you’re squirreled away in your bedroom writing nonstop.

This is what I’ve had to learn. It was what I was already thinking for some time when Nadine Brandes said that in her webinar with Sara Ella. In a way, it felt like she was giving me permission to write less.

I know, I know that must sound crazy, but it’s the truth. No one has everything figured out, but when I hear a successful author saying something I can’t help but think it has to be truth. XD I realize this is an unfounded belief, but the point still stands: I needed to hear that that day.

I hope that you will be able to take something from this as well. I hope that, in time, you can learn that every writer has off seasons and that it’s okay for you to take one as well (speaking to myself here as well). Those off seasons can be some of the most fruitful time periods as a writer, because it’s through them that you grow and gain motivation and inspiration.

It’s through them that you become a better writer.

Your turn!

Do you ever feel pressured to write more or do more? How do you deal with the pressure? What have you been doing to live life more fully?

Blessings, Allyson


14 thoughts on “Doing Less and Being Okay With it (+ how living life is the greatest writing experience of all)

  1. Thank you so much. I needed this. I’m always pressuring myself and trying to force writing because I have so much on my plate. I’ll start one project and feel guilty about not working on another project and I end up getting nothing done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so welcome! I’m so glad it helped you when you needed it. <33 Yes, I feel that! I'm the same way too often, and I've been that way a lot lately. Write what you want to write, though, and don't feel bad about it! 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Allyson! I went through a long off-season this winter, though one of my ‘winter goals’ was to write a lot. It took a while for me to convince myself that it was okay, but when I did, there was a great load lifted off my back, and the writing process actually grew easier.

    One thing that I’ve realised is that editing OFTEN takes more time than the actual writing. Especially if you believe that the editing stage starts as soon as your first draft is done. So don’t lose heart! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Temiah! Yeah, I kind of did the same. This winter was so busy that I wasn’t able to get everything I wanted to done. That was hard to accept. But I’m trying to learn that it’s okay to have off seasons and to embrace them instead of beat myself up about it! Just like you said, the writing process actually got easier!

      That is so true! Thanks for the reminder, I needed to hear that. <333


  3. I’ve been sick for a few days and feel very “behind” on writing and everything to do with that, so this came at the perfect time, Allyson. ❤ THANK YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! That is something I think every writer needs to hear. All over the place all you see is consistency is key, write everyday, no other profession gets to not work because they feel tired or drained…and I think we need to realize writing isn’t like other professions…lol…this so good! I needed the reminder!

    (Also, as I said everyone needs to hear this so can I reblog it on Writers’ Vision? I’d love everyone over there to read this!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I can’t agree with you enough! Consistency is preached so much in the writing world and I believe it’s important, but not if you’re hurting yourself in the process. Writing is not like other professions because any job you go out and work at has hours that you clock in and out of. Writing doesn’t have hours. Even as I’m trying to sleep I often am thinking of one of my stories. When you really think about it, we never “clock out”. So yeah, writing is definitely different and needs to be seen as such. I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

      (I’d love for you to reblog it! Like you said, more writers need this reminder so go for it! Thanks!! <33)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amen! Writers never get real breaks…there is no clocking in or out and therefore to tell us to act like any other job is nor true. I can’t turn my brain off…lol…even when I’m not trying to think about a book it’s still there in the back of my mind. Lol… loved it!

        (Thank you so much! I’ll email you the day it’ll be posting as soon as I get it scheduled! Thank you!)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly!! Haha! Me either! I have one day a week that is my sacred break day, nothing can change that, but even on that day I too often find myself thinking about my stories. It’s so hard not to!! 🙈 I try to give my brain a break as well but it’s really hard. Our brains rarely get a break.

        (Thanks!! I got your email, I can’t wait!)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Lol…right, Sunday I take a break during the day and let myself write in the evenings…honestly I think I think about books more on my day off than any other day…lol…

        (Awesome! Me either!)

        Liked by 1 person

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