Walk away then return. Repeat as often as necessary.
Anyone who writes, no matter if it’s to create or to meet a deadline for a client, has walked away from something. They have put the work in a drawer, be it a real one or electronic one, as a failed work piece.
Incidentally, I walked away from this blog post so I could rethink the intention of the message I want to get across. I walked back to it a few hours later with a cup of tea and a partially refreshed mind.
When I was reading a book, I used to read it all the way through out of a sense of obligation. If I was to give it a completely honest review, then I should be reading it from start to finish. Only in the last few years I’ve changed my approach. If a book starts to get dull I will give it as long as possible before it gets shelved. There are only a few occasions where the book should be finished. If you are reviewing the book for a paid gig, or if you volunteered as a beta reader for a colleague who is seeking feedback.
Then and only then, is the obligation there.
Writing can be approached the same way. If you are being paid, the job must be done. You cannot necessarily await for your creative side to just show up. I look at something and know I need to get it done. Luckily for me, I’ve managed to make those moments interesting.
When working a pitch or general creative idea, there have been may times I have walked away. Some of these things get scrapped, while others get shelved for a possible return. There are things I started writing in my late teens and early twenties that still have some life. They exist in primitive form with the possibility that they may take on a completed work.
Still, not everything you start has to be finished. Just take some comfort knowing that you have the confidence to start again. That confidence takes a long time to develop and maintain. I’m still working on it.
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
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