Take A Frigging Vacation
TODAY’S BREW: Some ungodly Cinnamon Maple coffee I got cheap. It tastes like something I would get from an airport vending machine.
You all know I finished The Animal. And since then, I have been lost. Accepting my breakup with Trent, I gave myself the mourning time I never expected I would need. I thought I would finish it, and feel nothing but joy but that was not the case. I literally couldn’t listen to the song that had become my soundtrack to writing the book. Total basket case.
2 weeks was what I gave myself off. Not from writing, just from The Animal. I took some time to work on the long neglected Running Home, querying it and reading the beginning again. I wrote some short stories. I even got up for 5am Writers Club on twitter, just to keep routine and give myself some structure.
None of this helped.
I wanted my book back.
I started to edit The Animal 2 weeks to the day that I finished it. I did do some good to it, I think, but it didn’t feel like I had really taken a break from it. It was kinda like listening vs. waiting for your turn to talk. Knowing this, I realize that I am still too entrenched in Trent to be objective in my editing process. So again, I step away.
I buy shoes.
I eat candy bars.
And I realize something else. While taking writing as seriously as any job, I never give myself an actual vacation. Think of a job you really enjoyed, and when your boss said “You should take some time off, Johnson,” and you were all “No, I feel great!” and you did, but then you CRASHED. Because throwing yourself into something you love is as draining as it is to throw yourself into something that’s difficult.
As soon as I decided that I would take a little vacation from writing, one that I totally resented, I immediately became inspired with a fantastic new idea for my short story that is evolving into some sort of novella, Inscription. It was the first time I had been truly fired up to write anything in the past two weeks. Just the thought of taking time off, making myself aware of the need to refuel was enough to make me stop looking for the next thing to do.
While determination and commitment to your craft is critical to writing being a habit, beating a dead horse is a horrific way to treat your passion. Knowing when to back off and knowing when to “just write” is a fine line. One is a copout, the other a surrender. And what do we do as writers but surrender? We surrender all of ourselves to write something that feels alive.
If we don’t let ourselves live outside of our own self-imposed deadlines and guidelines, how can we ever evolve as artists? Stopping is part of facing our fears. It is the fear that maybe, just maybe, we won’t ever start up again.
And when you have no fear left, create a new one.