When Should I Let My Writing Sit for a While?

Ever feel like that your writing just isn’t coming out quite perfect? You may feel like there’s something missing. Do you feel like what you’re saying doesn’t sound right?

That’s okay. Sometimes, you simply have to take a step back and leave your writing aside for a while. It might only be for a few hours. Sometimes, it can be a day. If you have the time to do so, it could even be a week. 

Still, if you feel like you’re on to something, but you haven’t quite figured out where you’re going yet, it is actually okay to let your piece of writing sit. That way, you can come back to it with a fresh perspective. The idea should be to not rush a piece of writing if you don’t have to.

Why is Sitting on a Piece of Writing for a While Actually a Good Thing?

The most important part of writing is getting the ideas out. Once you get the ideas out, the hard work really begins. How do I actually turn this piece of writing into something that people can relate to and get some value out of it? Most important of all, you want it to be something to be happy with, especially if it’s going to be published somewhere.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of what we write finds its way into the recycle bin. Even the greatest writers struggle at one point or another. Keep in mind not everything you write is going to be good, especially on the first draft.

Don’t ever feel like every word that you write has to see print, even if it’s on a computer screen. If you feel bad about a piece of writing, taking time away from it is probably best. That way, you can detach yourself emotionally from it.

When Should I Set a Piece of Writing Aside?

Trust your instincts if you really think a writing piece has potential, even if it’s just not going anywhere right now. Save it and set it aside. Don’t hit delete until you’ve given it a second chance. You may find later that you regret hitting delete on a piece that might have had some good ideas, but just needed better organization or more work. 

Yes, sometimes a piece is destined to go nowhere, and that’s okay. But, if you’re working on something like an assignment that you absolutely have to do, then setting it aside for a while is actually the best way to go. In fact, you know how many writers will purposely hold off completing assignments until the last minute? Sometimes, this is to help motivate the writing to get done, but for some writers procrastinating actually helps it get it done better. 

Even if you’re a procrastinator, you actually still want to put something down. It may just be listing subheadings or questions that you need to answer in the article. Even sticking in keyword phrases and thoughts related to the writing work gives you a place to start if you really need to set it aside for a bit. 

When Should You Just Get Writing Started to Work On Later?

The most important part of writing, or doing anything in general, is to get started. As long as you’re able to put something down, you’re already getting somewhere. If you really get stuck, then leave it for a while. If you’re able to come back to it, especially if it’s an assignment before it’s due, you’re probably okay. In fact, you’re probably a lot better off than when you started.

But, even if you put random thoughts down, why are you able to then write better? This is because your mind has actually been able to think through what you’ve written subconsciously. Never underestimate the power of the subconscious. Even though it does sound cliche to let ideas sit around in your mind for a while, it really does help.

Some people may wonder why writers will rush to writing assignments and try to get something out right away. Doing this gains you momentum. Once you have that momentum, even if you stop and think about it for a while, you got it started. You’re not always going to be able to produce your best writing work in one sitting. You shouldn’t feel like you have to do that. If you do feel overwhelmed, it’s time to step back, and reconsider what you’re doing with your writing.

Is It Possible to Sit On My Writing for Too Long?

Contemplation and reflection is very important with writing. But, it is possible to let writing sit too long. It’s important to get the ideas out of your head and let it sit for a bit if you have to. But, make sure you come back to it. Then, finish it or decide what else to do with it. If you find yourself taking writing work that you’re sitting on too long and it’s due, it’s perfectly okay to reach out for help. Writers do it all the time.

It’s important to find your place where you feel comfortable with writing. Sure, it’s fine to put yourself out of your comfort zone once in a while. This can help expand your skills and build discipline with your writing. But, don’t ever feel like you have to get your writing done in one sitting if you really can’t get it done.

Sure, you can try and write fifty articles in a day, but that’s rarely possible. If you feel fine trying to do a whole bunch in a day, then go ahead. Each of us has a different limit. But, once you reach your limit, don’t push yourself past that limit. Otherwise, you’re going to end up hating writing.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Burn Yourself Out with Writing

If you do find some writing is sitting too long and you can’t finish it, you then have to make a decision. Don’t feel obligated to finish, if it’s not vital that you do. You don’t want to burn yourself out. Sometimes, you have to just let it go and move onto something else. 

But, if a writing assignment is very important to get done, get help with it if you need to. Always give yourself a break before you feel like you have to finish something. Know when you need to let it go to someone else to be done in time. If you don’t do these things, you’re probably not going to be happy with your writing.

Letting your writing sit for a while is important to let yourself reflect and produce the best work you can. But you also need to get back to writing in a timely manner. Finding that balance is the key to being a successful writer.

~ Amelia <3

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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