I’m not saying to completely abandon your masterpiece. I’m not saying your story sucks so badly that it doesn’t deserve any more attention from you. What I’m saying is to walk away from it — for now.
Yes, you read that correctly. Stop staring at the screen, hoping the words jumbled in your brain are going to magically make your fingers dance on the keyboard and create an amazing story. And put that pen down before your hand cramps up to the point where you’re not going to want to write for days. What I’m saying is to walk away from it — for now.
And I’m not saying this because writers often experience writer’s block, although this technique is definitely a cure for it. What I’m saying is that walking away from your story not only gives your eyes and brain a break (of course), but it gives you, the writer, the opportunity to reset your creativity and gain a new perspective on your story. So, what I’m saying is to walk away from it — for now.
Yes, I know. You already have great ideas for your story that’ll get your readers going and a perspective that no one has touched. That’s great, but give yourself some breaks along the way as walking away from your story helps you think more clearly, boost your energy level, and surprisingly lead you to ideas you’ve never thought of before.
The best story ideas and perspectives arrive when you least expect it — in the shower, driving to work, in your dreams, watching TV. And if you haven’t noticed, all of these activities are generally performed while you’re away from your story. I’m quite sure there are some scientific findings and theories behind that, but separation anxiety from writing is in fact a healthy thing that needs to happen in order for your story to mature into adulthood and into the publishing world.
For How Long?
Set your story aside for a certain period of time — five minutes, one hour, two weeks, one month, etc. Place it where you or anyone else cannot see it. Then after that time is up, revisit your story, and I guarantee that you’ll have a new idea or different perspective about your story. Keep doing this until you come back to your story and have no changes. And when that happens, your story just might be ready for the next stage of its publishing life.
What Can You Do In The Meantime?
Take a Nap. Attempting to write with heavy eyelids is one of the worst things to experience. If you are sleepy or feel exhausted, don’t fight it. Get some rest for about 30 minutes to an hour. When you wake up, drink a glass of water, coffee, tea (or whatever arouses your creative juices), and get back to it.
Exercise. Or, do something close to it, if exercising is not your thing. Go for a quick walk or jog. Or, catch up on some cleaning around the house. Get your body moving by doing something that’ll get your blood flowing.
Start a Conversation. Don’t text; that obviously defeats the purpose. Give someone a call and talk about something other than your book.
Travel. Changing your environment allows you to see things you often don’t see on a regular basis. Whether your destination is a quick half-hour drive away or a 20-hour flight across the world, take in the sights and absorb the new vibe around you.
Overall, step away from your manuscript for a second, and get involved in activities that are unrelated to writing to reset your mind for writing again. After all, creativity can come randomly and in many forms, so prepare for its arrival. Then, with a clear mind, finish that story and get ready to excite your readers for years to come.