“What do you mean STOP writing, Kayla Ann? I need advice on how to START writing!”
Fair enough, I know that many of us authors struggle most with getting started, finding inspiration, and actually getting our words, ideas, plots, characters, etc., down on paper. In the past, I’ve talked on this point of how to get started multiple times by setting a scheduled writing time, or brainstorming, or even setting up your environment.
Today, however, I want to talk about something equally important. You need to know when to STOP writing MID-project. Now, today’s post is not about stopping your writing indefinitely or even for a long period of time. My advice today is specifically geared toward authors who are working on a long project (like a novel or series) every single day.
When working on a large project, you need to stop at a certain point every day to avoid future burnout.
Burnout is a common issue for all authors, but it is even more common for authors who are attempting a challenge like NaNoWrMo or self-projects that require every day writing. I am currently in the third week of my 80,000 Word Count in 10 Weeks Challenge. Last week, I was pleased to say that I had met my writing goals, but I can admit that I am beginning to feel the burnout creeping up on me.
I have found that the best way to to fight off burnout is to keep the writing intersting for me by cutting myself off midstream. When I do that, I am excited to return to my story and finish my thoughts!
Let me explain: Every day, I have a writing goal of approximately 1,143 words. Once I hit that word count, I try to wrap up my current thoughts and then stop, EVEN IF I know what I want to write next, EVEN IF I am excited for what is coming next. I defintiely outline what I have planned (so that I don’t lose it in writing limbo), but I force myself to stop while I still know what is going to happen next.
That way, the next day, I do not open my computer and sit struggling as I think: NOW WHAT?
Instead, because I already know what I want to happen next (remember, I left those notes and I’ve had a whole day to think about it and expand on it in my mind), I can jump straight in to the story! For me, just starting a story or picking it back up can be the hardest thing. In the past, when I would write until I ran out of thoughts, the next time I sat down to write, my mind would be empty and it would take me awhile to get started. With this new technique in mind, I skip over that stalled beginning and am able to pick up writing right were I left off.
Don’t exhaust all of your words and ideas in one sitting. Make and reach your goals, but then stop and leave notes for your next sitting so that you are able to dive right back into your writing!
Any other writers employ this (or similar) techniques when writing? Let me know in the comments below!
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4 thoughts on “Writing Tip: When To Stop Writing”
I wrote about this topic last year! It’s a good one. One of the authors I came across advocated for stopping mid sentence. Instead of a word goal, I usually have an allotted amount of time. Then I stop, though I prefer to complete that sentence.
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I’ve seen that idea too! It makes a ton of sense to stop mid-sentence but I haven’t had the guts to do it yet! Stopping mid-scene is hard enough!
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