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Rule #17: On Walking Away

April 29, 2013 by Kiersi

I have yet another guest post on writer/editor Kate Brauning‘s blog this week, this time for Pixar Storytelling Rule #17:

No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

This was one of my favorite posts on the subject so far, because it’s personal and near to my heart. I’ve worked on a number of manuscripts that had to be set aside for various reasons, and I’ve spun my wheels more times than I can count trying to figure out what happens next. And the work and the distance always grants me new, helpful perspective.

In this post, I introduce a character that is feature in most authors’ lives: The Nag-bot.

When you’ve written something and it just feels wrong, in a way you can’t explain? That’s her. When you leave your computer but can’t stop thinking about your manuscript—everything that you need to fix, everything you could add to it to solve your glitch—that’s her.

Read the post, “Rule 17: Sometimes Walking Away Is Just What Your Story Needs.”

Happy Monday!


  1. I agree. When I’m stumped, I walk away for a bit and then the manuscript is all I can think about and the solution comes to me.

  2. Yes, totally agree. And sometimes I’m my own nag-bot.

  3. Writerlious says:

    Such wonderful advice. It is hard to let go when you put so much time into something, but sometimes it’s necessary.

    • Kiersi says:

      It really is! And sometimes it becomes a matter of pride, too–I won’t set this down until I AM DONE. But I’m learning to get over that and realize it’s just part of the process.

  4. Very truthful advice. Have you ever read Melannie Svoboda’s essay “The Eight Beatitudes of Writing”? She mentions this very notion. I think she calls it “trusting instincts.” Basically, it’s one of the writerly blessings, or beatitudes. When we know that something isn’t working and follow that pull to write something better.

    • Kiersi says:

      I haven’t read that, but it makes perfect sense to me. The instinct is a blessing in that it helps us catch mistakes, but so often I say, “No! I wanted that to be good! I wanted to move on!” Haha. Thanks for coming by, Katie 🙂

  5. It’s very comforting, that first line that nothing is ever wasted. I love Pixar’s storytelling skills and I love you’re posting their suggestions on writing!

    • Kiersi says:

      Aw, thanks Claudine! I’m totally with you. It’s good to know that even if we don’t use it, it’s never wasted effort. I love these Pixar tips, I think I’ll blog about them again sometime.

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