I stopped writing for a month. Honestly? The break might have saved my passion for it.
I have been writing scripts for about two years now. In the beginning, it was easy. I was excited about finding this new format. I was constantly writing scripts in my Writers’ Workshop class. There was even a point and time where a few other students followed in my footsteps and began writing scripts as well. But after writing so many scripts for so long, and forcing it, I began to lose my love of the written word. I stopped writing for a while, and I felt oddly relaxed. Sure, every now and then I felt guilty about it, but it also felt right. My quality of work had been decreasing because I was going through the motions. A few weeks later, I went back to writing, and inspiration came easier than ever. I assumed this must have been a one time thing. Surely it wouldn’t happen again.
My inspiration sort of kicked up again after that, and reached an all-time high when I first started working with my mentor, Dan. Pieces were coming easily to me. I knew what I wanted to write and how I wanted to write it. I had themes, ideas, and characters constantly swirling in my head. Then, for some reason, in October, it came to a halt.
Despite the lack of ideas, I kept typing, but all of it seemed fake and poorly written. Sure, I could go back and edit, but it was very clear that this wasn’t my best effort. The more I struggled, the worse my writing became. Suddenly, I couldn’t even bring myself to try. Opening Microsoft Word just to write a title became a chore. Naturally, this slump took a lot longer to come out of because I had been forcing it for so long.
Even though I lost the motivation for over a month, the break was incredibly helpful. I received new experiences, saw things I had forgotten about, and found new passions that could be intertwined with my love of writing. After that time period, when I could finally open up a Word document again, I began working on an old piece that I had once given up on. I felt more focused, and writing felt natural again. When forcing the scripts, it could take me days just to write three minutes worth of dialogue. Once I had my passion back, I could write a ten-minute scene in under an hour, just like I used to.
Now, I am not the world’s biggest fan of Hamilton, but I have to agree with Eliza Schuyler when she simply says “Take a Break”. Just pausing, collecting your thoughts, and thinking about your passion for what you do, really brings you back to what you love. Whether it takes you two hours, two days, or two months, it is okay to stop for a little while. Once you come back, you should feel refreshed, and it will no longer be a struggle to do what you love.