Friday, February 18, 2011

Taking a Breather

When the end of a WIP draws into sight, I have a habit of kicking into overdrive, spending every spare minute, thinking, writing, and tweaking my manuscript.  I will stay up until two in the morning playing with the wording, checking for spelling, and trying for the umpteenth time to get that phrase "just right."  

I hit the end two days ago, sent the manuscript off to my agent, and had every intention of circling back to a WIP she'd sent me revisions on.   I've thought about the changes it needs, talked it out with my critique partners, even went back to my agent to makes sure I wasn’t deleting a thread she thought should stay.  Then nothing!  Haven’t written, tweaked, or opened the WIP in two days.   In fact, this post is the first “writing orientated” thing I’ve done since hitting my email’s send button on Wednesday morning.

I say I've hit a wall, that there is only so much creativity I can drum up before my muse says ENOUGH!  My husband disagrees, says that I am just taking a breather . . . a few days of non-writing activities is all I need to get my head back in the game.

I think he is right.  Last night I had my laptop set up on top of the dryer, IMing while folding towels.  In that brief, five-sentence interaction I figured it out, a small, not-so-insignificant scene that was holding my revisions up.  I’d been staring at that WIP since December, had written an entire NEW ms rather then deal with the revision, and in a brief minute-long internet chat, I’d figured it out . . . over fabric softener and warm towels none the less!

22 comments:

  1. I'm glad you figured out what was causing it.

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  2. I think after the mental workout, you do need a breather. It's only natural.

    Congrats on finishing!

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  3. Congrats on finishing and I think your hubby's right. Sometimes you really do just need a breather where you do nothing writing wise. I'm like you in that when the end of a WIP comes into sight I kick into overdrive and spend every waking moment getting it just right.

    Unlike you, however, I don't have an agent to send any finished WIP too... so instead, once I'm finished with a WIP, I then fret for several days doing absolutely nothing, because, of course, what I want to do immediately, is query the recently finished WIP... which is, of course, the WRONG thing to do. After a few days, however, I find that I'm ready to go right back to older WIPs (ones already being queried) and begin editing whatever WIP I've just completed...

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  4. That is awesome! I tend to find my plot solutions while doing laurndry, too. Must be the mindless act of loading and folding that allows the mind to float and work out those kinks.

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  5. So cool! I love "aHA!" moments like that.

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  6. I find for me that I have walking away from it makes the light bulb go off. Glad you got out of the white space phase, and on to typing again.

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  7. I know what I'm sending you for Christmas next year. Maybe some dryer sheets or softener. Something to feed your muse:)

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  8. Sometimes taking that step back is just what you need. Glad to hear you figured it out! :)

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  9. What a wonderful way to break through. I know how you feel. I have done the same thing by writing another WIP instead of dealing with another that needs fixed. So happy you took care of it and whipped it out.

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  10. That's great news! I totally need that to happen to me soon :)

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  11. Maybe the invigorating scent of Bounce is your cocaine. A sniff or two and you are good to go! LOL.

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  12. Muses are fickle, faint things sometimes. It helps us appreciate them more, which leads to shameless spoiling of the muse. Whenever mine wants to listen to a certain kind of music or have a particular shade of lighting or ambience, I usually go with it.

    Sounds like your muse likes doing laundry. Very productive!

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  13. Taking a breather is always good. Hurray for laundry giving you inspiration. :)

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  14. Nice post. We've all been there! Welcome to the crusade

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  15. Yay for taking breathers. Am doing that myself, just having finished the rough draft of my current WiP. Nice to meet you, buddy crusader! I'm making the rounds today and checking out your blog. Happy Friday! :)

    Artzicarol Ramblings

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  16. Making my crusader rounds. Nice to meet you. Now following!

    Nikki

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  17. Congrats on finishing your WiP. Breathers are definately a good thing. If you look at your work too much, it will be harder to be objective and to remember what you want. Also, I find that it's best to fantasize about your novel, during the times you're taking a breather. Think about what seens need work and try to fully envision them. This will help you desire to get back to them more quickly and will help you in your editing to make sure you're seeing what you envisioned when you read what you wrote. :-)

    <3 Gina Blechman

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  18. I've done the same for the past week, just taking a little time off doing nothing (well, sort of) before I start revising an older WIP. I actually felt a bit guilty about it - I had time off! Why wasn't I writing?! - but it turned out for the best! I'm all excited about diving back into this story now! :)

    Fellow Crusader here! Nice to meet you :)

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  19. I'm a mother of three as well! :) I wanted to stop by and say hello to a fellow crusader! I'm excited to get to know you! Congratulations on finishing your WIP. I love that feeling. It's the best.

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  20. We have crocus blooming in Georgia, so winter won't be forever. ; ) I'm following you from the Crusade...See you around.

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  21. Hi, fellow crusader. I'm a follower now.

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