Monday, July 9, 2012

Writer on Vacation

True. Sometimes writers have a hard time turning their brains off. Especially when they’re in the middle of a project. Anything they see or hear could be used to change, better, or elaborate the story that’s continuously playing out in their heads until they can get it down in writing.


In my case, however, I think I’ve been purposely avoiding my wip like it has rabies. Sure, I have TONS of excuses. I’m on vacation. Haven’t seen my family in a long time. Had a birthday last weekend. (Oh yes. I’m thirty now. Joy:) And then there was the 4th of July festivities and all that goes with it.


But now that things have finally settled down a little, I keep finding less and less reasons to avoid opening up that document. The weather outside is too hot to enjoy. Parents and kids are returning to their normal routines. I’m finding myself with a lot of ‘downtime’, which I was sort of expecting (this is vacation, after all) but had kind of hoped would be filled with easier, less painful activities.


It’s not that I don’t like my current project. In fact, I really like it. It’s wondering if I’m going to open that document and suddenly…well, not like it so much.


The thing is, I don’t usually take three week breaks when I’m in the middle of something. First drafts are spewed out in a couple of months, writing almost none-stop in some shape or form and that’s always worked well for me. Now I’m worrying if the time away will make me re-question everything I’ve written. I feel kind of like Shaggy from Scooby Doo (zoiks!) – never wanting to enter the haunted house because I’m not sure if it’s a real monster terrorizing local inhabitants. Or just the owner dressing up as a monster to scare local inhabitants. Um, now that I think about it, I'm not even sure which one is the better scenario in my case…or if that analogy even makes sense. Oh well:)


What has you avoiding your current projects? And what inevitably pulls you back in?

32 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

I think my characters pull me back in. It's like they tell at me until I listen. Thier story needs to be told.

Caryn Caldwell said...

I hope it looks even better when you come back to it, because you've had so much time to miss it! (And I hope you had a great vacation, too!)

That said, I know your nervousness exactly. I finished the first draft of my MS yesterday, and now I'm taking a few weeks off to let it settle (including going away to a conference and spending some time with visiting in-laws). I'm already restless from the self-imposed time away, and I'm terrified about what I'll find when I go bak to re-read the book and get back into the story for revisions. It might be kind of a mess.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You'll get back to it, don't worry.
Right now just work gets in my way.

Theresa Milstein said...

I used to churn out manuscripts in two months. Nothing kept me away until I was done. But the last two have had starts and stops. I'd like to think I'm more thoughtful now and have cleaner rough drafts.

Is it that you're not sure how to write the next scene? Two manuscripts ago, when I was busy or wasn't sure what to do next, I had big gaps where I didn't write at all. For this last one, I worked on other projects in between inspiration. But then when I got rolling, I wrote thousands of words a day--especially at the end.

Julie Dao said...

I personally think taking time away is the best thing a writer can do for her story. It's nice to get a little distance from your plot and characters and come back with fresh eyes and fresh motivation!

Stephen Tremp said...

Family pulls me away pretty much all day long. At the end of the day I have to add up all the bits and pieces I've written and hopefully end up with something like a few pages or some resolved problems.

Gretchen Schreiber said...

Avoiding editing. It's down to the nitty-gritty stuff and I just don't feel like it. But eventually my CPs want more and I dig back in. Then I read a few chapters to get back in the pace and remember why I wrote the story in the first place.

Rachel said...

Taking time away from your MS is perfectly okay. I actually wrote about this (I spent an entire year NOT writing/editing) -- it can be found -> http://rachelwritesthings.blogspot.com/2012/06/year-i-didnt-write-and-how-it-made-me.html

I have no doubt though that you WILL return to your MS and it will be stronger, better, faster, everything-Kanye-West ;-)

Connie Keller said...

I just started a new book, even though I'm in the midst of editing another one (it's with betas right now). And I hate the thought of putting the new work aside while I finish the old. So, I'm not quite where you're at, but I will be in a couple of months when the final edits are complete.

My advice is to just put your butt in the chair and pull up the document--you only have to commit to work on it for 15 minutes. If you aren't back into after 15, come back to it the next day for 15. And so on. I bet you'll get your groove back. (BTW, when it's my turn, I totally expect you to tell me the same thing--I'll need it. :)

Avantika Chitturi said...

Oh my goodness I'm like that too (talking about the meme at the top). The thing with me though is that I write not as a job but as a way to get away from my job. So for me writing is a vacation.
But when I'm in class or supposed to be doing something else, my thoughts are very much like those little thought bubbles of those women on the beach!

And yes, I am avoiding my current project right now. I'm avoiding it by blogging/reading others blogs.

What pulls me back? Reading people's success stories or reading about how hard they're working on their current WIP. It inspires me to work on mine rather than just reading about how they're working on theirs on their blog posts.

DL Hammons said...

I've taken long breaks between projects, but not in the middle of one. In fact just this past weekend I ended my drought and started writing on my new project. I may have insecurities about particular scenes, but I never doubt my book as a whole. :)

Erin Kane Spock said...

That cartoon was perfect.
Right now I'm prepping my 3 manuscripts and one sheets for the RWA conference. That needs to be a priority, but my w.i.p. keeps distracting me.
At least I'm being productive. Last summer I kept being distracted by computer games. :(

Old Kitty said...

You'll soon find your writerly mojo adorable Katie!! The pull is too strong and your muse is too restless to stay inactive for long!! Yay! Take care
x

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I LOVE that cartoon! That is SO me -- all three of those gals!

Funny you should write this. Right now, I'm holed up in my basement trying to force myself to write the next chapter of my WIP. There's only THREE to go!

But this is going to be an intense action scene with a lot of stuff going on. And I need to deploy contemporary weapons -- about which I know nothing. And even though my brother-in-law has offered to help fix up my lingo in revisions and even though I can visualize the scene in my head ... I'm dreading the act of getting it on paper.

And so here I am, stalling by blogging instead ... sigh.

Patti said...

Laundry and dishes and work have kept me out of my writers chair. But yesterday I got the laundry down and the kids are gone for a week so I won't have much in the way of dishes, so I won't have any excuse.

Laura Pauling said...

Sometimes we just need a break! Our brains need rest. That cartoon is so funny because it's so true! That's me. 100%.

Gina Gao said...

Don't worry about taking a break! You'll get back to it eventually.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Kimberly Gabriel said...

My excuses are endless....I really never rely on just one. My latest excuse has been "nap time." I love nap time. Hate to miss it. Good luck getting back into it!

Annalisa Crawford said...

It takes everyone a while to get back into the swing of things after a holiday. You'll feel the pull soon.

I'm avoiding my novel because I don't have an ending. I thought I did, but Hubby pointed out I was wrong... (and the worst thing is, he's right!)

Talli Roland said...

I avoid writing like the plague when I'm on vacation! I find I need to draw a very clear line between 'work' and writing. Nothing wrong with giving your mind a break!

Hart Johnson said...

If you haven't worked on it in 3 weeks, that is maybe long enough to read ALL of what you have (no changes) and jump right in again. It really is probably a lot better than you sometimes fear. If you NEED to, skip ahead a little before jumping back in. You can totally do it!

LTM said...

Oh, man. This is a common one, I think. As for me, what gets me going are the deadlines. What keeps me away is exactly what you've described: Fear.

Good luck going back in! Best of writerly success ~ :o) <3

D.G. Hudson said...

What I do: write scenes. I never get bored writing scenes. It also jumpstarts my imagination that helps with the writing to go along with the scene.

My angst always comes from narrative.

Hope you're enjoying your holiday!

Diandra said...

The thing I avoid like the plague (the Big Bad Bubonic one) is editing. First drafts, I love you with all my heart and glittering stars in my eyes all set on revealing the story. Once I know the story - do I really have to return?

Raquel Byrnes said...

Usually homeschool starts up and I have no time...no time! But I'm doing some writing this summer so I hope to get some chapters in.

David P. King said...

Can't say I've been avoiding my writing. More like struggling to find the time to get it done. Slowly, but surely. :)

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Love the cartoon - hope you had a good vacation. I have featured you on my bloglights tour today (writingsavedmylife.blogspot.com)- just so you know...

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm still drafting, slowly but surely. But I'm getting to close to giving up on querying WM. Just doesn't seem to be working. Sigh.

Brandon Ax said...

For me I think getting a rejection letter or a bad critique can set me back on my writing for a few days, but then my love for getting the story worked out and the characters always pulls me back, love the blog btw.

Tamara Narayan said...

I was using volunteer work as my excuse and just as I was about to get 'serious' about writing, three out of six of the creatures in my house started having health issues. Forget writing, I'm running the surburban version of the 'amazing race'.

Theresa Milstein said...

Is it getting better? I hope so.

4utea said...

So glad you made it to NYC smoothly! So funny about the cultural differences--it has to be so strange to become an observer of American culture after having grown up in it.
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