Friday, May 18, 2012

Productive Procrastination

There's a fine line between working on your writing every day and grinding it into the ground.  That's why EVERY writing teacher (worth listening to) always recommends letting your work sit and simmer for a few days after you complete a draft.

"But Giles," you say, "my book is 100k words long.  By the time I get to the end of the last chapter, the beginning has stewed enough for me to look at it with fresh eyes!"

Well, you're wrong.  Not because you're wrong, but just because you are.  Whether or not that's ACTUALLY true, you NEED to take a breather!  Even if it's just a day.  Why?  Because if you don't, you'll start having imaginary conversations with random people who may or may not read your blog.

Take some time to rest.  Don't STOP writing.  Go free-write.  Read a book ABOUT writing.  Research your next project.  Create a character.  Write a short story.  But step away from the current project (unless you have a deadline looming!).

NOW the question is, what should you do with your free time?  How should you relax?  Since I just started it, and I found out how fun it is, I recommend home-brewing.  But if that's not your thing, there are board games, card games, RPGs, video-games... wait, you don't do that either?  How about knitting?  Bike-riding, jogging, (exercise is VERY good for you, and it stimulates your brain!).  Learn a new language.  Take up painting (my condo is in need of a few coats... or a nice Monet).

The point is, if you work to hard, you'll turn out crappy writing, and you'll burn out.  It's a double-whammy of MAJOR reasons why you should find a hobby.

See you Monday!

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:09 AM

    Darn and I thought writing was my hobby. Course if I could write well enough I wouldn't mind getting publish to show people I wasn't just piddlen.

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    1. Writing can be your hobby, but it's always nice to have another activity to go to when you need to step away from the manuscript. It gives you a chance to refresh your mind and give you new perspective to GET your writing to that publishing quality :D

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  2. Writing stops being your hobby when you decide you want to get paid to do it.

    I try to take a month or so off when I complete the first draft. I can never look at anything with fresh eyes because I memorize (not words, context) but taking time off does help clear my head and get me ready for the first barrage of edits that are an absolute must. Then again, I also procrastinate. A lot.

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    1. You know, I have that problem sometimes, too. Context is a VERY difficult thing to set aside, especially if you really like the story.

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  3. I think this is so true of many things. People need breaks to do other things. Otherwise we'll just get into a rut. Or go crazy. Ya know, the usual not-so-fun things!

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    1. I think writers by definition are already crazy. But then again, who isn't these days :D

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