Always hold something back

You sit down to write having wilfully ignored the distractions around you: the distant ringing telephone (yours), the barking dog (your neighbour’s). You pay no heed to the bells and whistles of Social Media which continually beckon you away like a siren’s song. You make all that effort but when confronted by the computer screen and your work in progress you find you have nothing to say. We have all been there, haven’t we? It’s so frustrating particularly if you have limited writing time and need to make it count.

Frustration by Peter Alfred Hess courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

You can coax the creative engine into life but it can be a slow process like trying to get an old car started on a cold and frosty morning.

Give it a good pushjpg
Give it a good push by Christopher Amrich courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

It may take several attempts but you’ll get there in the end. Perseverance is the key. At least that was what I always used to think until I read this piece of advice from Ernest Hemingway.

‘I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.’ – Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway by Toronto History courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

You ignore the advice of a master storyteller at your peril so I gave it a go. This was several years ago now and I have to say it really works.

The temptation, of course, when the words are flowing towards the end of a writing session, is to keep going, pin down that idea, capture the essence of the piece, finish the scene or the chapter. Discipline, however, is what is needed. Do enough that you will pick up effortlessly from where you left off, the ideas brimming once more as soon as you return to the keyboard. When you have experienced the joy of hitting your stride early on in a writing session without the need to feel your way in, you will never go back to the old way of working.

Give it a go – you may be pleasantly surprised.

The Flower Seller Cover and Blurb
Have love and loyalty gone out of fashion? The Flower Seller by Ellie Holmes available from Amazon now



2 thoughts on “Always hold something back

  1. deborahanndykeman 21/07/2016 / 2:26 pm

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Some very good advice…and I often do it. It helps me get started the next day…and hopefully I haven’t forgotten too much of that ‘feeling’ for that scene!


    • ellieholmesauthor 25/07/2016 / 7:58 pm

      It’s so nice to be able to hit the ground running at the start of a new writing session, isn’t it? I wouldn’t want to go back to the old way of doing things that’s for sure. Ellie x

      Liked by 1 person

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