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85. Put Your Story Away For a While

85. Put Your Story Away For a While

Every few segments I have to stop writing. Why? There is something that happens to writers when they start pushing their story too hard – the story begins to push back and they begin to take shortcuts. For some people, this comes after 15 minutes, for others it can take 15 hours, but you can always tell when you’re starting to phone it in.

The way I deal with it is by putting the story away.

There is some scientific basis for this, multiple studies including this one show that time and sleep can help people overcome creative problems. Dr. Sara Mednick of the University of California, San Diego notes, “We found that—for creative problems that you’ve already been working on—the passage of time is enough to find solutions. However, for new problems, only REM sleep enhances creativity.”

Putting your stories away also gives you the opportunity to do something else and gain some perspective. Often the answer to our blocks are staring right at us, but we are only able to see them when we look at them sideways.

Begin to cultivate some intuition on how hard you can really push yourself and realize that sometimes the best thing you can do for a story is to stop looking at it for a while.

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