Thursday, July 10, 2008

Resting or Feeling Guilty?

Last Thursday I finished Draft 3 of my crime novel (my secret vice when I'm not writing children's books!) - it was a complete rewrite, putting aside Draft 2 and starting again from scratch. After feedback, the intention was to deepen the characterisation, add more detail and create more depth in the story. So that wasn't going to be fixed by fiddling around the edges. I'd been working on it sporadically for about 3 months, then my friend G and I set each other a deadline to finish our respective novels. That gave me 4 weeks to write about 30,000 words.

Well, I did it. And so did she. We met up on the designated day and handed over our manuscripts to each other for critiquing, and spent a long time discussing what we thought might be the main issues, and what we specifically wanted the other person to look out for and comment on. Along with all the normal kinds of comments. My novel ended up at around 93,000 words, 13,000 more than the previous draft, so either I've been successful at the deepening process, or I've done a lot of pathetic padding!

So then I thought: back to the other story I was working on. I was halfway through and put it aside to do some research and thinking, then got into the crime rewrite, so going back to this one wasn't that hard. I had it plotted out, it was just the writing to be done. But have I been able to start? No. I have done a hundred other things, and procrastinated. I finally made myself sit down two days ago and read what I'd already written, thinking maybe I was afraid the earlier stuff was awful.

No, it was fine, and I'd written more than I thought I had. But I still haven't written any more. It's not writer's block, I think it's "resting time" perhaps. My head was inside that crime novel in a very intense way, and now the creative part of my brain is saying: Give me a break, kid. Then this morning, I was checking out a blog I hadn't read for a while, Through the Tollbooth, and there are several terrific posts on creativity and giving the muse (or whatever you want to call it) room to move. Letting it feel creative again rather than pushing, pushing, pushing to get more words out.

So rather than feel guilty for not writing this week, maybe I just need to chill out a bit, relax, go back to the writing books I was reading, watch another movie, dig more garden up, go for another walk, read some poetry, and let the muse put its feet up a for a little while longer.


Anonymous said...

Everyone deserves a holiday and you've only given yourself a week. Think of it as 'Annual Leave'.

Kristi Holl said...

Your stamina always amazes me. (But then, you ARE younger than I am.) Yes, give yourself a break to enjoy your writing success--and re-creating that entire novel is HUGE. I had to smile at the post before mine that you had "only given yourself a week" off from writing. A week! That sounds like heaven. I need to re-think my idea of "time off."