There are times when I’m looking at my writing and I truly think that I can’t spend one more minute with it. Be it the characters, the setting, or the plot nothing interests me anymore.
So I break up with it. I shove it in a drawer and try to forget about all the good times I had writing it.
Sometimes you just need to take a break from a piece. I find that I get really pigeonholed into resolving a certain issue with the story, and that leads me to doubt whether the work as a whole has any merit.
I let someone I really respected read draft #18 (insert any seemingly crazy number here) of my first novel. I was expected some critique, but I was certain to get some praise. His biggest note? He thought the voice sounded child-like, and he was wondering where the depth was. I should mention that this draft was part one of three, and the section he happened to read was from a middle school girl’s perspective.
I scoffed. There was no way that my writing was childish. I had done my best to make it mature and deep. I thanked him and put the draft away. Several months later I ran across the same draft on one of our moves and skimmed over it. Crap on a cracker, he was spot on.
I was too close to the work. Honestly, when going through that draft it almost felt as if it had been written by someone else. I could look at it with a critical eye, and though it hurt because I’d thought the draft was better than it was, I also was able to see exactly where it needed work.
I always take a break from a piece when I feel as though I’m stuck and all the redrafting doesn’t seem to help. Distance helps. Not actively thinking about the piece helps.
I’m starting to look back at some of my short story pieces, and I know that I’ll see many areas that could use improvement.
I’m learning more and more than writing doesn’t always work on the timeline you want it to. There are lulls and periods of frantic activity.
It’s always nice to be in the honeymoon phase when everything is working splendidly, but eventually, you’ll have to break up with your favorite piece, but when you decide to come back to it you’ll be wiser for the time spent away.