This is a series on what I teach my composition students–I call it the POW:RE Writing Strategy. I’ve already talked about Planning, Organization, and Writing. Now, this post is about the importance of Pausing.
When it’s utilized properly it can do wonders. No, it’s not procrastination. (That’s the other other P).
It’s pausing. You know, stopping. Taking a break. Not looking at something.
This is becoming more and more an important part of my writing. Often when I finish something I want to send it off immediately to my editor, boss, or design to get it approved and have them sing my glowing praise.
Instead, I try and squelch that desire for another day. Or at least a few hours.
Because I need that break. I need a few hours to get some fresh air, take a walk, or just do something else. Because once I pause, my revision is a lot stronger.
It’s easy to think that “pausing” is doing nothing. But that’s not true. It’s valuable reflection time for your subconscious to make some new connections. To dream and expand a little bit.
Like right now, I want to really jump in to the next section and tell you how much it benefits the “R” (…that’s revision!).
But I’m not. Because that’s not what pausing is for. It’s not for jumping ahead. It’s for the present. It’s for the now. It’s for doing something else, anything else and letting your writing sit, breathe, and take its own little break.
You’ll be surprised at how helpful this is.
My students usually take some blowback from this, but they’re pausing and they don’t even know it. I always make them bring in their rough drafts a few days before an essay is due. So they’ve written most of it, then we look at it in class. Even that break–from printing it out to waiting an hour before looking at it in class–serves as a pause. But then we mark it all up, and then they have more of a pause as they drive home or sleep or whatever and take another look at it the following day.
They’re pausing and not even knowing it. That’s all I’m doing in my workday as well. Trying to take some time for things to make sense again.
Be sure and pause in your writing. It’s not procrastinating. It’s a break. And it’s one of the best parts of the whole process.