The Value of Distance
This week, I’m reminded of the value of distancing myself from my writing.
I don’t mean giving up on writing; I mean setting aside a specific project for a certain amount of time. This is a technique I hadn’t used in a long time, and I’d forgotten how valuable it is.
At the end of January, I finished the first draft of my book on the writing process. I had planned to immediately do a second draft. Instead, my whole family got sick, and my schedule went up in flames. I didn’t touch the book project for two weeks.
For the most part, I stayed consistent with my daily writing routine. (I missed three days.) My writing focused on other projects, however, and the book project sat idle. At first, I was upset about this. Later, I realized that this was a good thing.
When I went back to my book draft, I’d gained valuable distance from the project. The intervening time between finishing the first draft and starting the second had blessed me with perspective. I could see problems that I couldn’t see before. I could also sense what I’d done well. Again, this is one of those techniques that I’ve known for years, but I’d forgotten how powerful it is.
So while I’m upset that my routine was disrupted, I’m happy about the objectivity I gained with regard to my book. Going forward, I’d like to integrate this technique of taking a break from projects more consistently.