Monday, June 2, 2008

You've reached "the end" now what?

Wordplay and Witticisms: If a big gun on a ship came unfastened, it could roll around and cause all kinds of damage...that is where this term meaning "out of control" comes from.

My current writing soundtrack: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra

If your pants are still flaming and your fingers still burning, keep writing!

For those of you who have reached "the end", whether that end sits at 20,000 words or 200,000 words, it is time to step away from the computer. You heard me, back away from the keyboard...

That's right, after laboring intensely on your novel, it is time to take a break. Join the land of the living (AKA the land of non-writers). Leave your new baby for awhile. Don't read it, don't edit it, don't even look at it - for at least two weeks.

You may experience some sadness, a touch of poignant longing or a full-blown depression. That's OK - it is all normal. After all, you have been laboring with this project for an extended amount of time. Most likely, it encompasses joy, sorrow and every emotion in between, not to mention some of your best friends or most loathed villians. But, in order to continue on your quest of becoming a writer, you have to step away and gain some objectivitiy. Get reacquainted with your significant other, children, pets and...if you absolutely have to, the mountains of laundry that reproduced during your writing binge more rapidly than the most prolific rabbit.

Then, as Chris Baty says in No Plot? No Problem!, "when calm has regained, when you've gotten a little objective distance from your manuscript, then you will be ready for the next awesome experience: reading it."

Wordplay and Witticisms answer: Loose cannon
Check out Orijinz for more word play!


Jeanne said...


This is indeed excellent advice! Between writing projects--and sometimes during writing projects--we definitely need to take some time to "stop and smell the roses."

Writing can be an intense endeavor, calling up not only all our creative powers but also all our physical stamina. And we really do need those times of refreshment and renewal--not to mention a little time to develop the objectivity to go back and reread our manuscripts without the initial driving intensity it took to create them.

Also, as you mention, it certainly never hurts to reconnect with the important people (and pets) in our lives--though we're never quite as anxious to reconnect with the laundry!

Great post!
Writer's Notes

Tiffany James said...


Thanks for stopping by "No Rest..."

Glad you agree. Sometimes it is hard to stop and take a break, but I think in the end we come back stronger writers!

P.S. Just say "no" to laundry. :0)


Jeanne said...


It is very hard to take a break, and I find myself in this situation often--with so many projects to complete. I definitely need to work on this further!

One thing I don't need to work on, though, is saying a resounding "No!" to laundry! I'm 100% in agreement with you on that one! ;)