A few weeks ago, I told you I was taking a break from working on my WIP. Late spring/early summer is always a chaotic time around here, since boat launchings have to squeeze into an already full schedule of work and play. This year in particular it seemed like there were never enough hours in a weekday morning, and I’ve had plenty of creative challenges with more immediately billable projects. It was, frankly, a huge relief to take one enormous time sink off my list for a few weeks.
Now that all the boats are commissioned (and the biggest regatta of the season, Snipe Nationals, is in the rearview), I’m getting back to work on the next book. Like any habit, it’s harder to restart than to just keep at it… but I’m also discovering a fresh perspective on what I’ve written so far. While my hands have been busy with other tasks, my brain has continued to check in with my imaginary world.
It would’ve been all too easy to put off this restart for another week, or month… or even the entire summer. Fiction writing is, after all, totally optional. But I know myself well enough to realize: if this break stretched out too much longer, I’d feel like I was missing a limb.
One spur that helped me start up again is a small accountability reminder that happens every Monday. Last December, after the Novel Planning class ended, one of the other students and I agreed to email each other each Monday morning with a writing plan for the week to come—and an accounting of what we’d actually accomplished the week before. We’ve both got plenty of other stuff going on, so there’s no judgment if we miss our target—and lots of celebration if we meet or exceed it.
It’s the first time I’ve predicted to anyone else how many hours I plan to put into fiction writing—which is, remember, totally optional—and I’ve found it surprisingly inspiring. Even on mornings when I didn’t feel like writing, I’d think: “Better get a few hours in now, if I’m going to meet this week’s goal.” There’s a lot to be said for having a weekly check-in, even such a completely casual one.
I’m really glad I took a conscious break, but it’s also a huge relief to get back into my morning writing routine. How about you? Got a project you can’t get restarted, or one that needs a change of pace? Let me know by email or in the comments below; maybe we can help each other complete another step in this incredible creative journey.