Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Not Writing Can Be a Good Thing

No, I'm not just saying that to make myself feel better about my low word count. I'm not going to tell you all the reasons why I've been too busy to write, because face it, you don't want to hear that. But I am going to tell you why NOT writing sometimes can actually be good for your manuscript.

Reason #1 Sometimes we need to spend some time in imagination land without immediately putting our visions on paper. Just frolic in your fictional worlds. Wiggle your toes in the mythical sand on your fantasy island (yes, I'm going through LOST withdrawals, hence the island reference).

Reason #2 To protect your wrists. Too much typing with poor wrist posture can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Reason #3 To have time to contemplate your character's motivations. I'm a firm believer that a character must have clear cut motivations for why they do what they do when they do do the do. In fact, my recent stint of time off from writing helped me realize the major motivation why supporting character "A" traveled to "X" where she met "Y", and it was all because of retaliation from a broken friendship with "Z." Hey, it was groundbreaking for me.

Reason #4 You can't rush good writing. Sometimes you need to sit back and examine the big picture, but at same time comb through all the fine details. Is that adverb necessary? Is that scene to gimmicky?

I'm sure I can come up with more reasons not to write, which are equally as good as the four above, but I'm going to open it up to you guys instead. What are some reasons not to write?


  1. The reality for me is that life has to come first. Besides, if you don't experience life, how can you write about it? I can't sit behind a computer all day writing brilliant prose. I'm sure there are those out there who can do it, but I'm not one of them.

  2. I agree with all of your reasons. While it's good to write a little everyday to keep up my writing chops, it doesn't have to be my fiction piece. If we don't live, what will we have to write about? And don't we deserve a break from our work, no matter how much we love it.

  3. I agree with them too. Another reason not to write is if you have nothing to say. I don't believe in the idea that we have to write X number of words every day, rain or shine. Sometimes (often?) a bit of real life experience is worth thousands of empty sentences.

  4. Thanks for dropping by guys! And I agree, experiencing real life is important!

  5. These are all good reasons.

    I also notice that after a draft, major revisions, or major edits, I need a major break. I relax and read to refuel myself, and I return to my manuscript with fresh eyes and insights. The break clears my head and prevents burn-out.

  6. I can't sit behind a computer all day writing brilliant prose.
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