Writing Advice: Take a Break!

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http://www.flickr.com/kharlamovaa

As of last Friday, National Novel Writing Month is over. For those who participated, we now have a massive manuscript of unedited writing to pore over. For those who won, there are 50,000 (or more) words to go through in that manuscript. This is a daunting task for anyone, but for someone who has been writing everyday, non-stop for the past thirty days it can seem like being asked to run a 5K marathon after finishing a triathlon. With so much potential work ahead of you, it can be really difficult to get going on that work. This is where today’s advice comes in: take a break!

After you have finished a massive writing project, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break from it, or from writing altogether. As we’ve discussed before here at the blog, writing can really take it out of you. There’s an emotional aspect, a physical aspect, and the aspect of working out your brain during each of your writing sessions. For any writer, but especially those in NaNoWriMo, taking a break is essential to getting the creative process going again.

If you’ve recently finished a long sprint of writing, set down your story and move on to something else. Or simply take a short hiatus from writing and spend your time reading and getting more inspiration for when you return to writing. Stepping away from that story might also give you some insight into it. When you return, you might find that some tough plot points have worked themselves out thanks to your absence.

If you’ve finished a piece of writing and are about to start the editing process, all the more reason to walk away from your story right now. In order to edit, you first need some space from those words and turns of phrase you became so attached to. Set it aside and work on something else. When you come back, you’ll be refreshed and ready to go.

With the holidays fast approaching, now is the perfect time to take a short break from writing and get your creative juices rejuvenated. Have fun, drink some eggnog, and decorate your house! Then, when you’re ready, come back to writing and start up another routine of setting words to paper. It could be your new year’s resolution!

— Mary Egan, Jet Fuel Blog Editor

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