The Benefits of Giving Up

Why yes, I did recently write quite a nice post about perseverance and finding that one-legged-biker inspiration to keep you going in dark and frustrating times. But today, I want to write about giving up.

We're taught to never give up. A host of voices from our childhood, our adolescence, and right on up into adulthood all exhort us to keep climbing that mountain, keep reaching for those stars, don't give up. You can do it.

But sometimes, giving up is good. Especially when you're writing.

In most projects, there comes a point at which you can't figure out what's not working. You might know what's wrong or you might not. But clearly, something needs to change.

You can spend hours beating your head against the keyboard, forcing word after word onto the page. Or, you can try these four "I give up!" techniques:

Take a Walk

There's a reason this is a tried-and-true suggestion for dealing with writer's block -- or any other kind of block, for that matter. A ten minute walk around the block can clear your head and get blood flowing to those parts of your body that can go a little numb after hours and hours hunched over the screen of your laptop.

Try a Change of Scenery

Speaking of laptops, if you don't have one, get one! Then you can take it on the road -- coffee shop, bar, extra desk at your buddy's yourself the gift of unfamiliar surroundings can boost creativity and help you solve problems that seemed insurmountable when you're staring at your same old scene.

Bake Something

Or learn to knit or build a birdhouse or play the piano. Doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you funnel that creative energy into something totally different. Open new pathways, and you'll be surprised where those new roads will take you in your writing.

Take a Nap

If it's good enough for Einstein, it's good enough for you! (Seriously, Google "famous nappers" -- lots of powerful, creative people liked a good nap!) A ten minute power-nap can do wonders for recharging your mid-day batteries. Plus, I often find that while I'm sleeping, my brain keeps on working on those stubborn problems. And when I open my eyes, the solution is right in front of me.

Alright, I admit it. This post isn't actually about giving up. At least not permanently. But it is about knowing when to walk away from a creative project and let it simmer for a while. Get some distance, find a new perspective, and enjoy the view for a while. Work will still be there when you get back.