Feb 10, 2010

It's Okay to Stop

By Jaime McDougall

It’s okay to stop and put the pen down.

Yesterday I went to the air conditioned library to escape the brain melting 100+ degree heat of the Australian sunshine. While there, I had one of the best writing days I have had in a long time, finishing up the work day at over 3,000 words typed for the day.

Do I attribute this to a fabulous muse? The delicious smoothie I had while there? The wonders of air conditioning?

Perhaps, in part, but by and large I attribute it to the fact I took a few days off writing. I tried not to think about it. I relaxed. I went people watching.

Basically, I did what every writer needs to do now and then not only to write better but to manage to keep whatever amount of sanity you have:

Get out of the writing room!

Yes, writing is about putting your ass down in the chair and getting some writing done, but it’s also about living. If you never get out of the writing room and experience life, then who do you think you are going about as if you have something to write about?

If possible, sometime this week get out and go somewhere new. Or, at least, go somewhere you rarely go. On your lunch break, after work, whenever works best for you. Go somewhere new and live it up. Experience things.

Do it because this is one of the few times I’m going to tell you to get your bum out of the chair.


  1. How right you are, Jaime! If I'm having problems with dialogue I go and listen in on conversations in cafes and snack bars - probably look like middle-aged stalker but what heck... Not interested in what they're saying, just the rhythm of their words and their actions. It can be very funny hearing several conversations rolling into one with unintended meanings.

    Glad you had a productive day!

  2. I think one of the best times I write, is when I'm not at home and I'm 'borrowing' a table somewhere. I'm not distracted by the internet or phone. I'm just sitting and writing on my laptop. I do a lot of my writing on days that I go to town to do my shopping, sitting in a cafe or an empty office of one of the local businesses!