When to Walk Away...

Brrrrr. It’s cold. Our heating went out two days ago, just in time for the coldest days, so far, of this winter. We’re on a first name basis with the heating and air guys, lol, but it looks like we’re finally going to have to say goodbye to them. Our landlord just approved a fancy smancy new heating and air unit. I’m thrilled about the air part. Summer here is miserable. Miserable! And window units don’t do much to hold back the oppressive heat. So I may be shivering in my footy pajamas, but I have comfortable days of summer on my mind. So excited.

Anyway, I’ve been stuck on a scene for a few weeks now, so when the holidays came up it was pretty easy for me to say, “Kids are home. Noise level is up. I’m taking a break from writing.” That’s exactly what I did. I haven’t written anything really since Thanksgiving. Mostly because of this one scene that was just meh, and I mean meeeeeeeh. Nothing was working. It was boring. And nothing I added in seemed to make it any better.

Some writer power through and write anyway. Others go back and rework what they’ve already written because somewhere they’ve painted themselves into a corner.


I walk away.

I’ve learned that some scenes just aren’t ready to be written. Eventually it will be, but at that point in time, it’s just not going to happen and forcing it causes more harm than good.

Sometimes I walk away for only a few hours, sometimes its a few days, and then I have the rare occasion that I take a break for weeks over a scene. Here is what happened and the end result:

After staring at the screen in disgusts for days, I finally closed the project. I mean seriously closed it completely out. I usually keep my current project open 24/7 on my desktop. I didn’t think about the project at all. Honestly because when I did it was with frustration and those I hate this story, it sucks vibes. That’s just bad thinking and doesn’t help cleanse any bad writing mojo. So I just don’t think about it when I get like this.

Monday, a new day, a new year. It was time to revisit old Aidan. I opened up the project and went down to the dreaded scene. I started reading. Huh. This wasn’t complete crap. In fact, it wasn’t crap at all. You say what, Aidan? Really, you want to do that?

And just like that the scene was written.

If I do say so myself, it’s a pretty rockin’ scene now. If I’d powered through, it wouldn’t have been anywhere near the scene I have today. If I’d tweaked the previous chapters, again, it wouldn’t be the same scene.

So I’m okay with walking away when I need to because I know my characters won’t stay silent forever.

Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year!



Natasha Moore said...

Esme, I have to do that sometimes too. If I can't seem to move forward, can't make myself sit down and write that scene, then I know I have to take a step back. It's frustrating, but I have to trust that the answer will come to me. And somehow, it always does. :)

Glad you were able to come back to that scene and make it work.

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

I have SO done this! I tell myself I'm being self-indulgent, need to get back in the chair and type, yet something stops me.

Some say it's the muse being contrary. Some say there is no muse, just determination.


If it's there, I write. If it's not, I can't. Though I do try to limit how long I stay away from the story. Sometimes a break is the best thing you can do for your story.