Why The Write Stop?

I’m not good with titles. My novel was already at the publisher before I decided on A Day of Small Beginnings. At the last possible moment, I nabbed it from the mouth of a minor character, desperate not to have to go with The Gravestone, which sounded like a horror story instead of one about a family returning to Poland to discover its hidden history (ok, so it begins near a cemetery and yes, there’s a ghost involved but she isn’t scary, just full of regret at her own life).

I have a few pages of titles for the novel I’m working on now. I’m not proud of this. It seems to suggest that I haven’t found the heart of the book yet, which might be why it’s taking so long to write.

But when I needed a title for this blog, The Write Stop just popped into my head. It’s not poetic, or edgy, but it says just what I want this blog to do – be a place where I go when I need to stop working on the novel. Every writer knows when they’ve reached that time. They’ve lost the thread, the language is flat, the story’s gotten lost in the research, the pace is off, or they just don’t know where to go next. But instead of giving ourselves permission to just stop, we keep digging ourselves in deeper to material that, at the next sitting, will be deleted.

That’s why I think we all need a Write Stop. It’s for the time we need, away from the work we love, to let things settle unconsciously, and let us look around a bit. This is where the observation that was too tortured to fit into the novel (but mattered somehow) might go, or some tangential research that took me somewhere interesting and might be useful to someone else. It might be a piece of information about the writing world that’s worth noting, or just something deliciously wise or funny. Like any blog, it’s a progressive work; a place to stop, for a short visit, before returning to what we do.