SUMMARY: There are many things about writing that is hard. One of the most difficult is knowing when to stop.
One of the hard things about writing is knowing when to stop. Now, I don’t mean for a career change sort of stopping, but when to stop for the day. I write nearly every day, including weekends. What I have found is that it works better if I know what I am going to write on the next day. That is, the last thing I do before knocking off for the day, is set things up for tomorrow. In this way, I can immediately get to work on the morrow.
I did not always do this. When I was less experienced, I would write until I nearly dropped, and once I was ready to drop, well that was my stopping point. But the problem is that the next day when I opened Microsoft Word and prepared for work, well suffice it to say there was a whole lot of staring going on. The bank page staring at me, and me staring at the blank page. The reason was that I had no idea where I was going, or what I really needed to do.
Interestingly enough, this aligns with advice from Hemmingway where he cautions that it is important to stop writing while things are still going well. “Don’t write yourself out” he said, “always leave something for tomorrow.”
Yep, that makes sense. Even though I write from an outline, it still helps to have that incomplete sentence at the top of the page. Something along the lines of, “It was a dark and stormy night when I …” and tomorrow I pick up and begin writing.