How to End a Writing Session

Hemingway Quote

When in the middle of a writing session, how do you know when it’s time to stop working? When is time to keep writing, and when is it time to walk away? What’s the key to staying productive and energized?

Today, we look for the answer in the words of Ernest Hemingway:

“I always worked until I had something done, and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.” 

― Ernest Hemingway

The first key is not to stop until you’ve written something worthwhile. If you don’t push yourself to  accomplish something significant each time you write, you might start to feel like you’re treading water. Move the plot forward, discover something new about your main character, write a striking description ― whatever it takes for you to feel you’ve made progress.

Once you’ve gotten something done, it’s time to exercise some restraint. It’s great to get on a writing roll, but be sure to save some of your energy, focus and ideas for next time.

To determine a good stopping point, it might help to pretend that you’re a reader. If you were to stop reading at a particular point, would you be anxious to revisit the story tomorrow? If the answer is yes, you’re probably good to stop writing. Unlike a reader, however, you should have a good idea of what’s going to happen next. If you stop writing uncertain of what needs to unfold, it might be difficult to get back into the writing groove the next day — no matter how excited you are by where you left off.

End each writing session while you’re still excited about what you’re working on, and it’ll be east to start back up the next day for another great round of writing.

 
Takeaway Tweets

“I always worked until I had something done, and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next.” — Hemingway Tweet This

When in the middle of a writing session, how do you know when it’s time to stop working? Tweet This

It’s great to get on a writing roll, but be sure to save some of your energy, focus and ideas for next time.  Tweet This

 
How do you know when you’ve had a good day’s work as a writer?

  
There’s much to be said about the craft of writing. That’s why each week on the Abbott Press blog, we’ll take a look at what some of our favorite authors and thinkers have to say about this challenging, fulfilling and sometimes mystifying art. We hope these discussions will help you to further refine your own ideas about writing and to achieve new insights into your own creative process.
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