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SPARK: Take a Break

A resource for students wanting to improve their academic and research skills.

Take a Break

In order to truly re-see your draft from the point of view of your reader, it is very useful to put it aside for a while before rereading it, preferably for at least a day.

If you can, try to plan to have your draft finished so that you will have enough time to take a break between drafts. If you don't have a day, try to take some time away from your work completely (take a walk, play some video games, go to the mall, whatever) to clear your head. Taking a break can help you:

  • Gain a fresh perspective: During a break from writing you will engage in many other activities that will take your mind away from the details on which you were focused. As a result you will come back to the essay in a state more like that of those who will eventually read your essay.
  • Recognize gaps: While deeply engaged in the writing process, writers often focus on their main ideas and overlook the reader’s need for examples, connections and explanations. After a break, you are much more likely to spot such gaps in what you have written. Remember, your reader hasn't spend the last few days or hours thinking about this subject, so make sure that you have given them the information they need to follow your train of thought. 
  • Imagine new approaches: Reading from a fresh perspective allows you to see patterns in your writing that you may have overlooked previously or to imagine new angles you might take on the topic.

You may wish to review the Time Management module to learn about scheduling your time more effectively.