Should You Take a Break between Drafts? {Case Study}

A question that has been on my mind as I dive through the first drafts of each book in my trilogy, The Storm Inside, is if I should take a break between each draft.

I took it upon myself to conduct an experience to answer this question. After I finished the first book, The Storm Inside, I leapt directly into The Fire Inside. But after writing The Fire Inside, I took a break that lasted about 2 weeks before starting The Leader Inside.

Which one worked best?

Today’s Goals:

  • Look at a case study for taking breaks between drafts
  • Apply the lesson learned to your own writing

Transition One: No Break

As soon as I finished The Storm Inside, I jumped directly into The Fire Inside.

Things I instantly noticed:

  • It felt forced
  • It was difficult to continue my writing habits
  • The characters didn’t feel right

During the whole book, I had a lot of trouble. Character personalities were mixed up, I constantly didn’t feel motivated to write (I did write, though) and it ended up being about 30k less than The Storm Inside. I kind of expected it to be shorter, just by looking at my outline, so that’s not the biggest point I’d ever make during this case study; however, I do believe that I could have achieved a larger word count if I’d felt more motivated to write. I’m pretty sure I skimped on some parts a bit just to get past them.

Transition Two: Break

When I finished The Fire Inside, my Easter break was just about over. I’d pounded out the end in my week-long break (about 14k) and I really did feel ready to have a break. For about 2 weeks, I stayed away from the stories, though I did work on outlining a character arc for my main character in The Triad of Caosdif on paper.

I finally came back to my writing in the middle of a school week.

Things I instantly noticed:

  • I immensely enjoyed writing the story
  • The characters were much easier to slip into (and keep their personalities apart), even after the change they were supposed to go through in book 2
  • It was still difficult to pick up on my writing habits, but this time it was because my morning schedule changed slightly, and I still had to figure out how to get everything done in the morning and my writing

I will note that book 2 was supposed to be the darkest of the 3 books in the trilogy, so maybe my having a tough time with it had something to do with that (and my enjoyment of writing book 3 afterwards). I don’t know.¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Overall

Overall, from trying out both methods myself, I have found that taking a break can result in writing more words, and more easily as well.

Taking a Break Can Result in More Words Coming More Easily

I would definitely recommend taking breaks between each part of a project you do. (For example, between rewriting and editing)

Now it’s your turn!

The next time you finish something in your writing, make sure to take a break before you dive into the next part of your work. You’ve got this. 😃

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Do you like to take breaks between drafts?

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-Julia

Photo by Jeffrey Wegrzyn on Unsplash

8 thoughts on “Should You Take a Break between Drafts? {Case Study}

  1. Great post Julia! SUPER good tip to remember, and I totally 10000000 etc. % agree! I will definitely remember to take breaks!! 😁

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  2. I totally agree! Taking a break allows for our “bucket of inspiration” to replenish, helps us see it more clearly, and prompts us get excited for it again. Writing is like eating a favorite food, if you eat the same food every day, even if the food is really good, it’ll eventually lose its awesome flavor – but after a break from it, the food tastes just as good as before.

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  3. I definitely like having the option of writing or working on more than one project or idea, just in case one starts to feel forced and uninspired. It’s like having a back up contract to show people when you’re applying for an opportunity, to be able to negotiate the best out of them.

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    1. I totally agree. I like to work on more than one project at a time, and can jump between the two when I get stuck on one. Whenever I come back, it’s usually when I’m once again inspired. 😃 Thanks for your awesome comment!

      Like

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