There are times when it all looks like too much.  In those moments, we have to just chill.

I was working on my latest steampunk adventure and found myself fighting with it.  Every edit only put me a tiny step closer to the criteria for the story, regardless of the looming deadline.  After a couple of hours squeezing out words here and there, I found myself with a headache, eyestrain, and a general sense of feeling cranky.

The solution to all this wasn’t to feel inspired all the sudden.  I didn’t reach deep and keep going.  I wanted to crumble.

Every edit I made was putting a bigger strain on me.  I felt like I was killing the story just to make it fit within the guidelines.  Every time I cut off a bit of dialogue or some character development, I felt like I was cutting out a bit of myself.

This is what it means to kill your darlings.

Once I got the story within the guidelines, I realized I need to release a “director’s cut” in the future.  If nothing else, it would be a fun alternate angle.  I sent the story and breathed a sigh of relief.  I didn’t want to go back to writing, I just needed to even out my mind and take a breath.  I needed to chill.

Chilling, relaxing, letting go, whatever it may be called, is just a way to step away from strain and stress.  Allowing the mind and body to stabilize lets later work come at a higher quality.  If I had to write more immediately after slicing that story beyond what made me comfortable would be a recipe for crummy storytelling.

If you need a break, take it.  You might just need it.

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