Maureen Kauzlarich

Children's Author

When to End a Writing Session

Image by José Manuel de Laá from Pixabay 

Getting into the flow of writing was hard enough but stopping the flow at a good spot is something that writers seldom consider. When is a suitable time to end your writing sessions? Let us take a look at our options.


Stopping in the middle of a sentence

The famous author Ernest Hemingway used to end his writing time in the middle of a sentence when he still had more to add. This was so the next day he could quickly finish the sentence and remember where he was going. He didn't let the well dry up completely so that he had enough ideas for the next writing session. This is a great strategy if you constantly sit down to write and find it difficult to pick up where you left off. Keep the flow going by turning off the faucet but never shutting down the water supply.


Stopping at the end of a word count

Plenty of writers have a set word count when they start writing. Once they reach it, they stop writing. Same with stopping at the end of a chapter or scene. It's a good endpoint for organizations' sake and it also forms a habit. By consistently telling your brain to stop at the end of a goal you set, achieving that goal will tell your mind that it's a doable task that can be replicated again and again.


Stopping with a timer

Having a trigger that stops you from writing, like a sound or particular time on a clock, can help you write more in less time. When the hands on the clock are in motion, so are your writing hands. Creating a limit gets those hands to type or pencil in faster. It makes for an interesting point to stop writing because it's as if your past self is telling your current self to not go forward. You have probably also tried to fit in everything you could in the prescribed time limits.


Stopping when there are no more ideas left

Writing until there's no more juice available is another option. You can end up writing more or less than what you wrote yesterday. Since the tank is all empty, your mind will think of new ways to write the next parts of the story before the next time you write. By stopping this way, you may have trouble starting the next sentence when you write again. One thing you could do between writing sessions is jotting down notes about your story whenever ideas come to mind. This way you can refer to these notes the next time you write and refill the glass. By ending when the juice is all gone, you're not stuck in the ideas from yesterday, and you're free to come up with new paths.


Stopping when there is an interruption

Obviously, life will throw interruptions. From social media alerts to someone running into your office with news, interruptions are inevitable. Your writing space is what you make of it. Let others know the times you write and turn off notifications. Otherwise, you'll be setting yourself up for writing flow that will have to end without your permission. Small, avoidable interruptions can take away quality writing. You control when writing time should end and if that stopping point will be helpful to your future writing self. A surprise stop on the side of the road can make all plans go out the window.

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