Something like this.
Alright, that was the easy joke, but there’s an element of truth therein. It’s long enough that you start to wonder if you ever go back to it. Come on, for an instant, you had to think “oh, that’s what he’s doing. Give your writing space. Dickhead.”
And that’s a huge part of it.
I’ve done it before. Yes, I have barely touched For More Than Earthly Ends in the last six months (possibly longer). Not since my constant stalling on the ridiculous chapter six that necessitated (in my mind) having to go back and rewrite everything all over.
Why did I think that? Because I was still too close to it.
I hadn’t forgotten enough. I hadn’t let my mind wander far enough from my material to really let something else take over. It took time – and like a hugely formulaic-semi-predictable-technobabble-love-is-magical Doctor Who plot
hole thread, that’s what we really mean by space. Space is time, time is space, and it all seems a bit contrived for the point of making the audience feel stupid, but that’s another story.
I recently deleted some social media apps from my phone, to avoid it for a few days for reasons. While yeah, that just meant I browsed to those sites via the browser, the real other bit is I had a gap of needing to consume something that the filler of life couldn’t step in for.
Enter that little twiddle of thought that said “hey, download your novel from gmail”
So I did.
Where before it was all supreme, I got a sentence into a rewritten version before I wanted to change stuff. Ugh, I thought. Gotta change that.
I went back to the non-rewritten version. The raw NaNoWriMo version. I got past the first sentence, but not through the first paragraph. Immediately I knew how I needed to change it to make it read better. I was no longer clouded by the grand vision I had when I wrote it – the writing had to stand on its own.
If the idea of what you’re writing is still doing the heavy-lifting – and by that I mean if you can stop reading the words and just remember what’s happening – you’re still too close, it’s still too fresh, and you damned sure need more space between you and your writing.
That might be what they mean.
Of course, knowing how writers talk about writing, they may also mean give it vast, vacuous blotches of air-sucking nothingness to hold all your bits of stars in.
You know, that works too. Downtime between your exciting words is also good.
But that’s not what they mean.