The other Stephen King, in his book On Writing, discusses taking days off, a practice he strongly recommends against. In defense of his recommendation, he says that the characters will go stale. He also says that the excitement of creation fades, and the work begins to feel like work. Bottom line...don't take days off, whether it's Monday, Sunday, your birthday, or even Christmas Day.
He's right, probably, only I would couch it differently for a newbie author. While I'd love to be able to address what most newbie authors might feel, I can't...I can only talk about me and hope it applies on a larger scale. For me, this is a labor of love, ish...one I hope will pay off some day, but I'm old enough and grouchy enough to know that hopes and dreams don't always come true. I have a day job, one that I'm usually pretty happy with...and always very pleased that it pays the bills. Sometimes that day job takes so much out of me that I really do have to recharge a bit, and while the writing does that to a certain extent, I find that sometimes it's just not the right path toward restfulness.
I have a life, as well, and this weekend it collided a bit with the writing. We got to spend a beautiful day at a garden show with some dear friends, and last night was the daughter's prom...a major milestone in anyone's book, I'd like to think.
During the last couple of days of gleeful noncreation, the characters haven't gone stale. The work now doesn't feel like work any more than it did. That said, I'm getting back to it today. I actually feel better now, having let my brain get away from the rigors of storytelling for just a bit. However, I know I can't go away for long. That's what happened a few years ago when I failed at writing a book. I got into a sticky point in the plot where I wasn't sure what should happen next. I realized, in looking at where I was stuck, that I didn't like the story I was writing. At that point, so I've read, seasoned authors either scrap the whole project and start over or figure out how to fix it. I walked away for a day to regroup. The next day, I didn't know any better where to take it, so I continued regrouping. The next day, I did the same. Day after day passed, and I kept regrouping, until the calendar told me it was December 1st, the end of NaNoWriMo.
You know, unfortunately, it gets easier to not go back to something the longer I stay away. That's where I got with the book a few years ago, and it's where I'm in danger of getting to with this book if I don't get right back to it. There are a lot of tough parts of writing. Part of the task is figuring out the details of where the storyline is going...I know, I've called it exciting discovery before, but it's not always that exciting. Sometimes it's just plain hard thought. Constantly figuring out how exactly the characters will react to what they're experiencing can be tough. Creating while paying a bit of attention to following the proper rules of the language can be tough. And, as I've said before, getting up early and staying up late, spending time away from everybody else, can be tough. The longer I stay away from the minute-by-minute conquering those challenges, the bigger they seem to be. The bigger they seem, the easier it is to give up. And...no, I'm not gonna give up this time.
So...thank you, life, for giving me a lovely intermission, but the house lights are dimming and the curtain is rising once again.
Word Count: 35,258