A blog post with the title “The Importance of Taking Breaks” could be about a lot of things, but in this case I’m writing specifically about the need to take a break from your writing before you edit it (and you are editing before you hit publish, right?).
I will admit that, even though I spent several years working as an editor at a newspaper, and several more editing books, I do not always do a great job with this “take a break and then edit” thing. There are days I finish writing, hit preview, give it a quick read, make sure the pictures look good and then hit publish.
Scheduling Time to Rest
You didn’t think I could talk about this without talking about planning, did you? Well, here it comes again. In an ideal world, we would have a clear enough schedule and make enough time on the front end that we could write one day and edit another.
I’m working on that. I know most of us can’t do that. I know most of you probably have day jobs, or days full of taking care of kids, so that you only get to blog when the kids are asleep, whether that’s naptime or after bed.
You just want to get it out and get it posted. I get that. I do that a lot, too. I’m doing it right now, truth be told.
But it’s a major goal for me to have “sitting” time worked into my schedule, if that means writing in the morning and editing in the afternoon or writing one day and editing the next.
How you or I do this, by the way, depends on our own energy rhythms and style. I always have big plans to write in the morning but usually do better work in the afternoons. So maybe I need to write in the afternoon and edit the next morning. It may be different for you. You’ll have to experiment and see what works best.
Again, it’s an ideal. But I would say if you can, at least take half an hour away from a project, preferably doing something not-that-related to words, before you edit and publish.
(And set a timer if you need to so you don’t spend an hour of precious work time on Facebook and Pinterest.)
Next up, editing. I apologize in advance for the geekery that’s sure to ensue.