When to put writing aside to improve it

All writers hit a wall – a metaphorical one, I mean. Though some might hit a wall on a really frustrating day. But the important thing is to know when to push on with a project and when to put the writing aside.

People have deadlines. I get that. But creative writers with some time to spare might find they benefit from stepping away from a project in order to return to it with fresh eyes. Sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. This might mean turning away from a project for a few days, or even a few months.

People have a tendency to punish themselves over writer’s block, but it’s perfectly natural to lose creative spark or a vision for a project. Sometimes it is time to absorb some culture or, if you feel totally overloaded, to take a complete break.

If a project is frustrating you, you probably aren’t going to do it any favours by hammering away at it. I often find my best projects are done in a splurge of inspiration.

The same goes for taking time out for meditation in order to focus the mind. A meditation teacher and friend of mine once used the allegory of a woodcutter, slowed by a blunt axe, refusing to take time out to sharpen the tool.

Similarly, when drawing, I have many a time added way too much to a picture because I didn’t take time to step back and look at it from a distance.

But perhaps you are raring to go and it is just one project you are stuck on. In that case, you might find it helpful to have several projects on the go, so you can take a break from one and carry on with another.

So don’t feel bad if you’re stuck with your writing. And if you want to get scribbling again but find it hard to get back into it, start small – a sentence here, a paragraph there.

Take it easy and enjoy inspiration when it comes.

Check out my blog for more posts on creative writing and leading a creative life.

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