Sometimes, you’ve just got to take a break. When you’re so sick of your words that you can’t look at them anymore, when you start to roll your eyes at every possible idea you have, when all of your characters seem to do not much more than walk in circles…
Well, take a break. Go on, it’s fine. What’s not fine is not starting again.
Some people find it really difficult to make themselves write. If this is you constantly – well. Maybe try a different form, maybe try a script -shake it up a little. If you’re still at that point but have a burning need to tell a story? Then you’re just going to have to push through the whole writing thing to tell that story.
This inability to make oneself write happens for other reasons too. Sometimes its just good old fashioned procrastination. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be much point. And sometimes, you’ve just written 2000 words, and you’d like to have a break, thank-you-very-much.
The difficulty with all these is getting back to the story though. Once you’ve given yourself permission to stop, then it becomes very hard to revoke that permission.
Something I’ve found useful is the idea of momentum. If you start, sometimes you’ll just get pulled forwards again. If you don’t – well, maybe you’re done for the night. But starting is honestly sometimes the hardest thing.
So set a timer. Set it for five minutes. If you’re really struggling, schedule a five minute break. But make sure there’s another five minutes of writing time after that.
Cause five minutes isn’t long. Five minutes is nothing. Five minutes is “well if I really hate it, it’s only five minutes” territory.
6 sets of five minutes is also half an hour. Five minutes is a start- and sometimes, once you’ve started, you’ll forget that you’re supposed to stop in five minutes. You’ll keep going.
It’s win-win really. Either you forget about the breaks, or even if you do take them, you’re still writing for half of an hour.
Image taken from Flickr Creative commons, attributed to William Warby