I follow a lot of writing blogs, and I like to comment on them, either to let the blogger know that I enjoyed reading their words or to join the conversation with other commenters. The writing blogs I like best are the ones that give writing advice that can be equally applied to things other than writing. For example, I recently read a blog in which the blogger gave advice on getting famous authors to review a debut author’s book. One of his recommendations boiled down to, simply, don’t be a jerk. I commented, saying that I liked the advice because “don’t be a jerk” will get a person far in most pursuits, not just writing.
“Don’t be a jerk” are words to live by.
Which brings me to today’s topic, which is Taking a Step Back. I normally try to write six days a week, but this past weekend I was too tired to write, plus there was a book I really wanted to finish reading. At first I felt guilty about not sitting down at the computer, but before long I realized that I needed a short break from writing. I needed to take a step back. I sat down on Monday morning with a renewed energy for writing, and with a renewed interest in my story. Taking a step back gave me a fresh perspective, and I was glad I had taken the weekend off.
Taking a step back can be a great way to find new solutions to old problems. It can force us to take a slow, deep breath when we’re about to hyperventilate. And it doesn’t have to be for a whole weekend. It can be for twenty minutes or an hour or the time it takes to eat a whole package of Oreos. The point is, stepping back from a task or a problem allows us to refresh, renew, and refocus. Anyone who’s ever been on vacation knows this.
Taking a step back works for my daughter’s math problems. It works when I feel offended or angry and my instinct is to say something snarky. It works when I’m too tired to keep my eyes open another minute. It works when I feel like I’m going to scream if I have to fold just one more piece of laundry.
It can feel unnatural to take a step back sometimes. It can feel like the best solution is to force my way through something until it’s done. And don’t get me wrong: there are times when that’s true. But I find that when I take a step back, it’s almost always easier to regain my focus and energy and complete my task, whatever that may be.
So here are today’s words to live by: Take a Step Back.
Until next week,