Stepping Back

Sometimes, you’re just too close to your project.

Sometimes, you are your own worst stumbling block.

Sometimes, you just gotta step back.


…And sometimes, stepping back just happens TO you, whether you’d like it to or not.

I’ve spent the last two weeks not writing. Not revising. Not even scribbling out notes. Now, this hasn’t been by choice–life has been busy! I haven’t had any time to sit and work on my Book 2. And while this had been stressing me out beyond belief, it turns out it’s actually been a blessing in disguise.

Without the pressures of a blank page in front of me, I have had time to think. Both consciously and subconsciously. I’ve taken all the tidbits I had rattling around in my head, and merged them into nuggets of pure creative gold. Thanks to this forced break, I now know not just what my main character’s biggest passion is (something I’ve two dimensionally known for ages), but how she acts on it and applies it in the real world. I also know the backstory on my antagonists–where they align with one another and where they definitively do not. And there’s so much more. I know which characters need to show up when. I know at what point I can throw in the twists I have planned. I know when I need to bring in tension, and when to bring in conflict.


I had time to sit down and work on writing today for the first time in two weeks. I chose to spend that time with blank scrap paper, rewriting my outline chapter by chapter. When I was done, I read it over, and sat back, amazed.

I have what (at least on scrap paper) sounds like…a book.

This means tossing out the draft I’d been working on up until now, but it also means the next draft is likely going to kick serious butt. I will take it. Yes!


Feeling stuck or overwhelmed? Take some time off. Step away. Breathe. And watch what happens. You might surprise yourself.

Katie Slkatiemarsivensky’s debut novel (THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY) tells the story of a 13 year-old robotics whiz who is thrilled to be chosen to train for an international mission to Mars, but soon finds herself and her fellow cadets in a situation far more dire and deadly than any of them could have imagined. Publication is set for Summer 2017 with HarperCollins Children’s.

Katie is a science educator at the Museum of Science in Boston, where she coordinates school visits, does live presentations, and runs the rooftop observatory program.  She lives in a suburb of Boston with her two completely absurd cats, Galileo and Darwin, and is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.

Visit Katie on Twitter (@paleopaws) or at her website,



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4 responses to “Stepping Back

  1. Absolutely, Katie! That has been my experience as well. Your mind has to sift together, measure – and discard some of the creative ingredients – before you can truly get down to the business of writing and revising, revising, revising. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! You have inspired me to stop stressing if life gets in the way. Sometimes the best writing develops when we aren’t staring at the blank page in front of us. And congrats on your new outline😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a great reminder! Thank you! I had to step away from my writing last week, but during all the busy-ness, I had several ideas/epiphanies related to my next project. I jotted it all down, to be revisited in the future! Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elly Swartz

    Great advice! I have had to do the same during the process, either by choice of my life, and it was immensely helpful to really see the big picture and gain perspective on your character and where she’s going. Huge thanks. This was just the reminder I needed today ; )

    Liked by 1 person

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