Word Ninjas Live 120: When to Shelf Your Work…

Welcome to episode 120 of Word Ninjas Live! This week we’re discussing just when to set aside a project, archive it, or let it cool off for a while before you play with it some more. Also, some news highlights, productivity updates, and more!

Weekly Conversation Topics:
Each week we bring various discussion topics, what if scenarios, and creative concepts that have arisen over the last week to rant/ramble/bring about.

Topic: When is it time to simply hang up a piece of work and walk away? How long is needed before looking at a project again?
Topic Leader: Charles


I tend to parse it into four different options:

  • Set it aside: Let it percolate for a while. If you need to do research or just don’t know how to go about a certain part of your story or character growth, let it sit for a while. Not all ideas come when you’re ready for them. It’s okay to let them sit for a while.
  • Stir it a bit: Let is simmer. It’s not a priority project or something to work on regularly, but something to play with on occasion when you get a eureka moment or have motivation to play with it.
  • Let it cool: Stow it on a shelf and leave it be outright. Sometimes we’re just not ready or in the right place to work on an idea. that’s ok. Let the piece cool off, gather some dust and distance. It’ll be there when you’re ready to take it on.
  • Let it return: For pieces that have been left to the side, sometimes it’s time to poke it a bit, heat it up and see what can be done with it. It’s rare for a story, character, or idea to be completely unusable. Not everything may make it into a final piece, but just as with the lightbulb, it’s useful to whittle down options of what doesn’t work before finding the right combination to focus on.


  • Don’t burn the midnight oil: I have found that trying to stay up late to finish something only ends in sloppy work, reduced productivity, and many many mistakes. I have pulled all nighters, only to realize everything I had done was wrong. Go to sleep, get that rest, you’ll be surprised how many epiphanies you will have when you wake up the next morning.
  • Passion: When you start petering out due to lack of passion and engagement, it is time to put your work down and let it simmer. Your brain is always working in the background, so even when you are doing something else, you are processing everything else that is going on in your life.


For me, it comes down to; is it more frustrating now than it has been. If you’re making little to no progress and getting nothing but stress in return, then it’s time for a break.

Highlights Reel:

News / Articles:


Productivity & Inspiration Station:
Discuss any personal highlights and inspirations you wish to share.


  • Did not hit NaNo goals this year. That makes nine wins and four losses.
  • Operation: New Adventure is proving frustrating. Working on backup strategies and playing the long-term game.


  • Completed “My Roommate’s A Stripper!?” Now the editing can begin.
  • Sitting on the other side of the fence and letting a creative friend bounce ideas off of me. Only fair since I’ve done it to him many times before.


  • Finished NaNo with 2 hours to spare; writing an article about 10 years of NaNo
  • Custom LEGO Advent Calendar


  • Operation: Wait For The Dag-Blasted Title To My Car To Arrive In The Mail has gone into week 2
  • Ideas, Ideas Everywhere!


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