One of the most valuable steps I build into timelines for any writing project is ‘walk away’ time. It is so important to me that I have time to walk away from a close-to-final draft.

‘Walk away’ time allows me to:

  • Think about the copy while I do other things, allowing new ideas to arise. This is nothing new for creative types – don’t the best ideas always pop into your head when you aren’t working on the project?
  • Eliminate the stress of writing copy at the last minute. I feel that it’s never a good idea to hammer out important content under extreme pressure.
  • Return to my copy after a break and look at it/revise/review with a fresh set of eyes.
  • Take pressure off of getting it exactly right on the first draft, making the early stages of writing much less daunting.

Building in this extra time also provides a buffer against sick days or other unexpected changes of plans. I might not end up getting my time to walk away, but I gave myself some scheduling wiggle room.

When building timelines for my clients, I always build in this ‘walk away’ time, though it may not be visible to them. For example, if my deadline to get content to my client is on a Wednesday, I treat my deadline to myself as Monday. This is why I would never give myself a Friday deadline. Though I make every effort not to work over weekends, giving up the Saturday/Sunday walk away time would be foolish! Even if the only result is a quick tweak or review on Monday morning before sending the assignment in.

Walk away time: alleviates the pressure while creating room for new ideas and improvements. Make time for it!

Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Communications advisor and copywriter at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is communications consultant and copywriter at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog. Having worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999, Marlene specializes in working with capacity building and grant-making organizations, advising on communications strategy, and writing stories and other content.
Marlene Oliveira