“Stop When You are Going Good”

Scott Gavin has a great excerpt from an interview with Roald Dahl in which he talks about his writing process:

But if you stop when you are going good, as Hemingway said…then you know what you are going to say next. You make yourself stop, put your pencil down and everything, and you walk away. And you can’t wait to get back because you know what you want to say next and that’s lovely and you have to try and do that. Every time, every day all the way through the year. If you stop when you are stuck, the you are in trouble!

I found it synchronous with my own thoughts on both writing and being online, and my attempt to limit bouts to 20 minutes. If I stop at 20 minutes, rather than trying to finish up, I don’t end up going to a next thing, and a next thing, and looking up and hours have passed without doing much at all.

Having the confidence to “stop when you are going good”, coupled with the ability to crank it up again the next day, feels like a more mature place to be in terms of one’s personal creative process.


One Response to ““Stop When You are Going Good””

  1. thalia Says:

    Could not disagree more. Research says that it takes 40 minutes to get back into a ‘flow’ state if you are disturbed. Why would you interrupt the flow to go and do something else just when you are doing your best work?