Thursday, March 4, 2010

Knowing When It's Time to Take a Break

For NaNoWrimo 2009, I worked on a fantasy novel I had been kicking around for a few months. I thought I was ready for it. I had my rough synopsis, lore and characters all set. I played around with 1st person and then 3rd, finally deciding 3rd was the best way to go for the story, despite not feeling comfortable with it at the time. I powered through Nano, completing it several days before November 30th. Throughout the month, I didn't have time to really go back and focus on what I was writing. I would quickly look over the last few pages I wrote the day before to get the vibe of where I left off and then would write to get the story and the words down.

As I've mentioned before on the blog, it wasn't the first time I completed NaNoWrimo, and hopefully it won't be the last. In previous years, I was sparked by my marathon of writing, usually picking back up and a hurried pace again in January (how can you not take December off with the holidays after working that hard the month before?) This year was different. I found myself not caring to continue. I was so close to the finish of my first draft, but put it down. I still love the story, but can't figure out where I want to go with it. Instead of working through the issues, I just stopped writing...for two months.

I loved the story and wanted it to work to the point that I let it suck my creativity and passion for writing. I was afraid to go back to it, so I just stopped writing. I now realize that it's okay to put that story aside and work on something else. Sometimes the best medicine is to just take a break and focus attention on a new project. The story will always be there when I'm ready to pick it back up. Despite learning this the hard way, I am now happy to report that I am working on something else that I'm excited about.

How do you work through difficult writing periods?


Violet said...

Glad to hear you are working on something that you are excited about! :) Setting aside a project that you aren't feeling passionate about in order to rekindle your creative fire definitely sounds like the right choice.

Leona said...

I do exactly as you said, work on another project. My reading tastes are wide and varied, so goes my writing tastes. I seriously cannot stand a romance if I'm in the mood to read Dick Francis, or vice versa.

I'm the same way with my writing. I can't write believable fantasy if I'm in the mood for a good thriller. So I keep all my projects rolling around all the time and I quite trying to force things. (Although, I get some good editing done when I'm feeling critical. I have to be careful not to be too critical in those moods, though.)

I have a fantasy, sci-fi I'm stuck on GRRR, a thriller, and two paranormals I'm working on. The fantasy is my NaNoWriMo novel, and like you, it was something floating around in my head for a while now. I just picked it back up two weeks ago. I did a few edits on the computer, and printed it out. I need 100k words so the 64+ I did for NaNo wasn't enough and I needed to do more world and character building.

I have finished the paper edits/writing and will go back to the computer after it has jelled a few weeks. In the meantime, I'm working on my paranormals so that I have my rough draft finished. That will all me to do Script Frenzy to work out some "telling" issues in my thriller. I'm hoping that having to break everything down in a conscise manner will help me fix that problem.