Words to Live By

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,


4 thoughts on “Words to Live By”

  1. Hi Amy…

    Excellent words to live by! I find myself telling my students this all the time- when they are stressed and overwhelmed by all that is happening their life. It is important to take that deep breath, to look around and just take it easy. Then go back to whatever it is you are working in with a renewed perspective.

    I feel like i need to do more of that!



    1. I think taking a step back gets easier as we get older. I always felt as a teenager that I didn’t have time to take a step back and breathe deeply, but it really is important. I’m so glad you stopped by and left a comment, Kristen. Thank you!!


  2. Hello Amy,

    ‘Take a step back’ are good words to live by! When I get frustrated and I feel like I am about to scream and pout like a three-year-old, I just take a step back. You are right, about vacation. I do feel refreshed when I go on vacation and just take a step back.

    Rebecca H.


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