Writing Tips

Writing Tip: When To Stop Writing

“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.

Stop Sign

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!

Don’t forget to reblog if you think your readers would like to see this content too! ūüôā

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Writing Tips

Writing Tip: STOP Writing

“Stop writing?!”

“But Kayla,” you may ask me, “how can you tell me to stop writing? Shouldn’t we keep writing? After all, we are writers! How can we be writers if we are not writing? How does stopping our writing actually help our writing? Isn’t that contradictory?”

Image result for girl you crazy gif

Now before you turn away from me and shake your head in disgust, hear me out.

I’m not saying that we should stop all writing. I am saying that you should stop working on the project you’re currently working on once you have finished it. For writers there is this huge urge that once we finally finish a project we automatically want to go back through, edit, and send it to a publisher. It’s just not realistic guys. In order for a work to be good you need to utilize the power of distance.

Now some of you may be wondering what the power of distances and others of you might have already heard of it. For those of you who are unfamiliar or need the refresher: The power of distance is, as it sounds, distancing yourself from your work after you have finished it.

Once you have finished a project you set it aside. If it’s on your computer, exit out of the file for a while (I know it’s scary but don’t worry it’ll still be there when you get back to it). If you’re writing in a notebook (hey kudos to you not a lot of people do that anymore),¬† close the notebook, put in a drawer and leave it alone. Give your work at least a couple of days if not weeks to rest and work on other projects in the meantime. Heck, go outside and see the sun once in a while (you know us writers are vitamin D deficient).

After a few days or a few weeks whatever you can manage, although longer is better, take your work out. The distance that you have given yourself and your writing will now do several things for you:

  • You will no longer be wrapped in the euphoria of finishing your project. As such, you will be able to remove your rose-colored glasses and look at your work for what it is: beautiful, but in serious need of some editing.
  • Due to the above, you will also be more willing to do what needs to be done, even if this means cutting out whole sections or chapters of your work.
  • You will gain a new and fresh perspective. I’m sure many of you college students out there know the feeling of turning in a paper, believing it to be 100% free of errors only to have it returned to you with red marks and think to yourself, “How did I miss that?” Do you know that when we read the same thing over and over, our brain will automatically fill in the gaps because it knows where we are going? That is why students often miss entire words in their essays, because their brain automatically assumes the words are there. By placing distance between your work and yourself, you give your brain a chance to restart and give your eyes a fresh chance to look at your material (making it easier to spot mistakes).

Try for yourself guys and let me know how it goes! Once you do finish a project and utilize the power of distance I encourage you to NOT EDIT, but rather, to Rewrite Instead.

Happy Writing Everyone!