Taking a Break

What I’m about to write won’t mean much to most of you. But I know that a lot of would-be authors read the BLog, looking for writing advice or insight into the writing life, so here goes:

Like poor Ross, I’m going to take a break. Unlike Ross, mine will not involve the hot girl at the copy place.

“Take a break from what?” you ask. And I reply, “From writing.”

In the last five years, I have written well over a million words. For comparison, figure that the average novel weighs in at roughly 87,000 words.

In five years, I’ve written the equivalent of around eleven and a half novels. I’ve published seven novels, a graphic novel, and a novella. There are three more novels coming out over the next year or so, as well as The Book That Will Kill Me, which is huge and still waiting for a publisher to believe in it.

In the last year alone, I’ve written Blood of My Blood and Lucky Day, as well as my collaboration with Peter Facinelli and Rob DeFranco, After the Red Rain (which, being a collaboration, required a level of rewriting and revising I’d never, ever attempted before). I’ve also written a kick-ass middle grade novel that hasn’t been announced yet, one that I am so excited about and can’t wait to see in print.

But man oh man — I’m beat. I am tired.

It’s been said that writing ain’t ditch-digging, and that’s true. Go ahead and boo-hoo me and hashtag me with firstworldproblems and whatever else you’d like to do, but the fact of the matter is that if you do anything at the unrelenting, uncompromising pace I’ve written in the last few years… Anything done that long at that level will burn you out.

I’m tired. I need a break.

I’ve always said that I will write books until I die, and that’s still the case. I’m just going on hiatus for a little while, to recharge my batteries and regain my sanity and my perspective. When all you do is write, write, write, and write for months and years without a break, you start to lose the ability to tell what is good and what isn’t. You start to question yourself in ways that may not be healthy…and at the same time, you develop a tendency to dig in when maybe you shouldn’t.

So if you see me out in the world (like at this event later this month) and you ask me that audience favorite — “What are you working on right now?” — the answer will be “Nothing.”

What will I be doing? Well, I don’t plan to just sit around playing video games.1 I’m not 100% sure yet. I may take piano lessons. I might learn how to code — I’ve always wanted to write an app. I want to think about it a little bit. If you have suggestions for stuff I might be able to do in my sudden free time, feel free to post ’em in the comments below.

There’s no particular deadline for this hiatus. I’ve lived on deadlines long enough. This hiatus will end when it ends, however long that takes.

As I said up at the top: There’s really no reason for anyone to care about this, but I know that some of you are interested in an author’s day-to-day life. This is my day-to-day life right now.

And for that small percentage of you who may be disappointed, I say: Seriously, don’t worry. Blood of My Blood will be out in three months. After the Red Rain hits in August of 2015. And that secret project will be out next year as well. Really, it’s like I never went away.

  1. Don’t get me wrong: I’m gonna play a hell of a lot of video games! It’s just that that isn’t all I’m gonna do!


  1. Barry – I am blown away by how much you have done. Enjoy the break – well deserved. Looking forward to seeing what you create after you rest. And thanks for the perspective.

  2. I think you should learn how to cook Indian food and read these: http://www.amarchitrakatha.com. 😀 Yum!

  3. Kirstin says:

    You should come teach at my school. We need a 6th grade language arts teacher still.

  4. I’d rather you take a break, than have a breakdown, so enjoy your “you” time.

  5. This sounds like a great idea Barry and one well earned. I will keep my eye out for all your upcoming titles and I hope you get fully recharged so you can come out with another brilliant novel!

  6. Barry,

    Enjoy your break! Maybe a road trip to “the heart of New York” Oswego?

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