The Writing Life: Taking a Writing Holiday

So I had this plan (not for a giant wooden badger) to start writing the first draft of my next book while The Killer and The Dead is off getting developmentally edited. You know, use the time, maximize my word counts, get the first few chapters of The Slavegirl and the Traveller banged out and be ahead of the game for next year. I mean I have the story plotted out in quite a bit of (exhaustive) detail, so it wouldn’t be too hard to just jump into it, right? I even know what the opening line will be!

Yeah, well, the opening line can just wait. This last half year has been one long frantic rush, with July 2nd as its highly anticipated terminus. I reached it. It’s time to stop, for just a little while.

Time to not think about writing stories for a week or two. Time to recharge my batteries, to go out and experience life, nature, art, to refill the creative well with inspirational experiences. Mostly I’ll be in bed or in front of a screen, but you get my lofty ambitions.

I’m a little tired. I could do with a break. I mean I’d like to do extra writing if I could, but should I confuse my brain by jumping ahead onto a different project for three weeks, probably start getting right into it, only then to have to switch gears back to writing Stahl in TKATD? That seems like a strategy that could backfire. Better to write some nice blogs when not time crunching, including the ones I got nominated for (thanks again!), and to do some mundane book related work. Pay some more attention to my FB reading and writing groups again, catch up on Goodreads updates, add more keywords to my advertising campaigns. Do new ad copy and try other strategies. Watch more research videos and not feel like it is time taken away from writing, but time being spent usefully in service of writing. And maybe go to a museum, up a hill, into a gym. Lord am I lardy right now!

Watching TV and movies might be fun again – recently I always felt it was time taken away from writing (apart from watching The Expanse, which has just been awesome all the way) but now I can be mindless, not always thinking about plot and character, give my brain a break and let it come back to those ideas of its own accord, rather than forcing it there. It’s not as if I ever really stop thinking about story ideas – even when writing this draft of The Killer and The Dead I was daydreaming and writing down snippets for both The Slavegirl and The Traveller and the sequel to The Thief and The Demon. (When I write a series set on another world, the books will NOT be The X and The Y! But in The World Belt, that’s the way it’s going to be! Until it isn’t, of course.)

So taking a vacation from writing, from the pressure to produce, seems like a good idea right now. I have another five months to come of deadlines, and need to be refreshed and able to take them on. Burning the writing candle at both ends by trying to get a few chapters of the next project started now, while a good idea in the abstract, is perhaps setting myself up for writing burn out down the line, and I don’t want to go there! If writing stopped being fun, stopped being a useful expression of my creativity, a need that is only satisfied by doing, then it would be very hard for me to keep doing it, and I want to – I have so many plans for the future! To implement those plans I need to manage myself to get to that future refreshed and always eager to keep exploring new writing horizons, and that means, for now, putting down the composing pen.

Over there. Where I’m going to leave it. For a couple of weeks. Honest.

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