2. Writing Through
Most writers of long fiction probably wish for a regular time of day to start writing; what’s not so obvious is the value of a regular time to stop. When you’re in the flow, naturally you want to keep going and make the most of it. But if you use up all your momentum, what’s going to get you back into the flow tomorrow morning?
Like I said, the inspiration behind a novel is far bigger than one day’s writing. It won’t get lost just because you carry it over. It can lurk quietly in the back of your mind while you spend the rest of the day on other things.
One writer I know deliberately cuts off short in the middle of a paragraph, so that he’s got an immediate launching pad for the next day’s work. I’ve read that the famous playwright, Henrik Ibsen, used to break off in the middle of a sentence! Extreme—but you get the idea. Instead of writing yourself into exhaustion, you make yourself a cliffhanger for tomorrow’s work.
I used to set myself a fixed time in the early afternoon to down tools. Frustrating in the moment, but a great incentive for wanting to get going the next day. It’s not so important now, when my writing habit is well established, but it was very important when I was struggling against writer’s block.
The other side of the coin is that I don’t like to be away from work too long. I can skip a day or two here and there, but for me the ideal is to write every day without weekends or holidays.
If I have a long break, the story and world start fading from the back of my mind. After a fortnight away, it’s like starting from scratch all over again—agony! The very worst kind of Monday-itis! I’d rather go without holidays!