Writing Blooms With Fresh Air

"We go out now?"

“We go out now?”

After a rough morning of sleeping, mixing margaritas, and chasing each other around, the rescue beagles realize they need to put distance between their busy lives in order to gain some perspective. So they drop what they’re doing and insist we go outside.

Yah, I’m good with that because I normally need a break as well. Editing all day long makes for a stale Pricey. But a nice walk and a breath of fresh air puts new wind in my literary sails.

It’s the same thing when we write. We increase our BIC (Butt In Chair) index to the point where answering the call of nature is an irritant because we “in the zone.” What I see all too often is that writers type The End, and shove their babies out the door…and it isn’t ready. Before you do anything, you need to back away from your computer and get some fresh air.

Right now, you’re stale, so you can’t see the warts hiding inside your writing. If you send it out, I’ll see those warts and reject it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard back from writers saying how embarrassed they were to have sent me their first three chapters. In the time they sent it to me and received my rejection, they’ve had a chance to get some fresh air. When they read my reasons for rejection, they hurriedly go back and review those chapters.

“GAH!!! How could I have not seen those POV switches, or the fact that my main character was in her office, and the next scene has her in Mexico?” Oh, the horror of seeing your work with fresh eyes.

Do yourself a huge favor and get some literary fresh air. Put your writing away for a couple weeks and go outside. Go to lunch with friends, take that hike you’ve been wanting to take, go visit Mom and Dad, learn a new hobby. Do something besides writing. This is the only way you can see the dust bunnies and tumbleweeds hiding among your nouns and verbs.

If I’ve been working on a tough scene, I go ahead and bang it out – and then I put it away and walk away, even though I’m convinced that I’ve just written the best writing in the world. Upon returning with a breath of fresh air, I usually discover that my writing is pure Bantha fodder. The best writing comes from being fresh and clear. Putting you focus elsewhere allows your brain to expand – and suddenly you can see your writing with new eyes. No, those rough paragraph transitions didn’t sneak in while you were sleeping. You wrote them, and didn’t see it before.

If you don’t have pesky rescue beagles reminding you to keep your literary air fresh, then write yourself a note and tape it to your forehead. Nothing good happens in a stale room. Don’t send your work out too early. You’ve worked this hard, so doesn’t it make sense to honor that hard work by sucking in some fresh air?

Do you take long breaks after writing? What do you do to get your breath of fresh air?

6 Responses to Writing Blooms With Fresh Air

  1. authorguy says:

    I write something else. But I still take walks though.

  2. Kim Kircher says:

    Very wise advice Lynn. I’m very task oriented–nothing gives me quite the same sense of self worth as crossing something off my list. I’m tempted to call one task done just so I can have the pleasure of making an X next to it on my mental list.

  3. ericjbaker says:

    On a similar note, I think it helps to take a break even if you intend to do another draft. You almost need to forget what you wrote a little bit so you can get into the reading mindset.

  4. Ruth Dupré says:

    I write it. I put it away. I go back in a week or two, and Lordy, does it suck swamp gas. I repent of ever writing the thing. But after sleeping a month or two, or even a year, it becomes something lovely. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good. It’s hopeful. Even better, it’s workable. 🙂 So yes, I definitely need a break.

  5. tbrosz says:

    When I finish, I give it to someone else to read and de-bug, and then take a long break. My wife is my prime beta reader, with the slow, methodical processing inherent in a medical professional who can’t afford to “skim” what they read. Me, I’m a skimmer.

  6. RJ Telles says:

    Love! Ive thought this many times but was never able to express it so well. Thank you! Bantha Fodder had me cracking up. poodoo.

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