Sunday, April 15, 2012

When to Pause

So I've finally done it.  I've hit the wall mid-way through the third book of the series.  Usually, I don't hit a wall this hard and fast, but this time it was dead on.

The plot was rising and falling perfectly, characters were developing and conflict was arising.  Basically, the entire book was coming alone perfectly and then, bam, the wall appeared and I ran right into it.  Usually I can tell when it's coming.  My progress will slow down or I'll write without plot.  This time, however, I thought it was doing great.  And it was- until now.

My point by all of this is that, as a writer, we need to know when to stop on a WIP (work in progress).  Yes, we should push ourselves and work hard to finish what we've started. But, if we push too hard, we burn out.  Burning out is much worse than pausing for a little while to catch your breath before you keep working.  So what do you do when you hit the wall?

1. Take a break from writing.  This sounds kind of lame and quitter-ish, but it helps sometimes.  When you do this, it helps to read a lot of good books, especially ones in the same genre.  They can help you think up new ideas to continue that WIP.

2. Start something else.  Sometimes getting new ideas from your head and into writing helps clear your head when you get back to writing that WIP.

There are a lot of other things you can do, but I think those work the best for stepping back and starting to climb the wall.  One thing that you don't want to do it go back and edit.  It just depresses you more, to see how bad the first draft of a book really is.

So what do you do when you hit a wall? Push through it? Take a break? Leave a comment and let me know :)


  1. Celtic Forest DwellerApril 16, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    I sometimes take a break from writing, though it's been a long time since I did that. My latest answer was to start something else. :) I hadn't started anything new in a loong time (I've got 18 novels to work on already! Don't need to be starting a new one every time I get stuck . . .), so it was amazing to sit down with a fresh idea and just pound out those words. :)

    Also, since it's a story I'm not too concerned about turning out just right, I'm not burdened by that bad habit I usually have of wanting the first draft to be perfect, which is often what causes that writer's block/wall.

    It's a good lesson that I needed to teach myself again: Just sit down and write. Get it down on paper. There is such a thing as editing. :) I'm hoping it will help me get back into my other writing.

    Haha, you talking about that wall made me think of a funny youtube video, the second one on here:

    They're well worth watching, and absolutely hilarious! Especially to us writers :)

    1. I haven't taken a break in about two years, so I decided it was time to step back.

      Wow! 18 novels is a lot! I'm guilty of this "edit as you go" thing. In fact, I must force myself to STOP the internal editor and just WRITE!

      Anyway, enough with my ramblings. Thanks for commenting :)