Can a #hiatus boost #creativity?

Yes, I’ve been MIA. I have an excuse. A really good excuse.

We sold the ranch. Yes, after 19 years, we sold the 10 acres we called home, and became vagabonds without a place to go.

This entailed work. There was sorting, donating, trashing, packing, recycling, gardening, interim-storing, changes of address, dog-boarding, all sorts of record accumulation, and who-knows-what else. Rest and repeat. The days were long, the nights tense (because selling a long-term home that you’ve spent years making yours is like cutting off a limb), and the business negotiations tiresome.

We had a buyer, and at the last minute, they pulled out without explanation. Devastated, with our lives packed into cardboard boxes and interrupted plans made to buy in our new home city, we did the only sane thing people can do in that situation. We took a cruise. And while we were on that cruise, a new couple offered us cash with an even faster closing. Escrow #1 – 30 days. Escrow #2 – 21 – but hey, we were already packed.

The small windows of writing time I could eke out were spent adding words to the three manuscripts I have in process. And I’ll be honest, those windows were ridiculously tiny and infrequent. I missed my creative time, but I didn’t ignore my profession completely. I read blogs about the writing craft, the industry, and tools and tips religiously. If I didn’t have the brainpower to write (because frankly, at the end of an exhausting 16+ hour day, I didn’t remember my pen name), I would at least learn more about my craft.011

Even after being a writer for all of my adult life, I still have things to learn.

I felt like I was a fraud as a writer. Writing is what writers do, right? But as things calmed down (if you call the circus which is buying another house in a new city calm), I grasped an important lesson. With a hiatus comes opportunity to build your work into something even stronger. Those hours spent feeling guilty because no words were coming while I learned something new about my craft produced a keener eye as I edit. I know without any doubt where my characters plan to go next, and I can take them there.

In short, a temporary hiatus from writing has made my writing even stronger. I appreciate that. Even if I don’t yet have a house to call home!027

From (temporary) lodging on the northern Oregon coast, I leave you with a picture of the view outside my current writing window. Enjoy!

Has a hiatus from writing worked for you? Why or why not? What fears have you had about not writing for a while?