writing life

Taking a Break

I’m starting to see people talking about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and though I’ve informally participated the past couple of years (Interview with a Dead Editor was last year’s book), I’m doing the exact opposite this year. I’m not planning to actually write during November. I’m hoping to take a bit of a break. I may do revisions on the book I’m working on now, but otherwise, the plan is to have a sort of creative retreat.

I’ve been working pretty hard this year, under some difficult circumstances. A lot of that has been on the business and administrative side of things, or else editing and analyzing. I need to get back to a sense of play that will carry me forward into the next year, when I hope to do even more writing. I’m already at the point in time spent on writing work where I was a month later in the year last year, and I’ve spent more time on writing work now than I did in the entire year for several years prior to that. So, I think I deserve a break.

Part of this will be prep work for a fantasy series I’ve been developing — a good, old-fashioned traditional secondary world fantasy with lots of adventure, a few quests, maybe a dash of romance. I’ve spent the year doing a lot of research to pick up ideas, and now it’s time to really flesh out the world and the stories. I have lots of little ideas, and now it’s time to start pulling it all together into a cohesive whole.

But I’m also hoping to loosen up the brain a little, doing things like art, journaling, music, and trying new things. The plan is to dig through my massive collection of recipes I’ve saved or clipped but never tried and try one every day or so. It’s my way of having some of the effects of a vacation with a change of pace and a different setting, but without leaving home. I figure that if I just declare it a “staycation,” I’ll probably end up doing what I always do, but without the actual writing time, and that not only won’t feel like a break, but it will develop bad habits and make it harder to get into writing mode again. By giving it a little structure, it might feel more like a vacation.

This is reminding me of a fall back when I first moved into this house. I got offered a new job, set a start date so that I’d have some time off after my two-weeks notice, but my boss got paranoid about me going to work for a competitor (never mind that the reason they recruited me was that they’d already started working with my former clients, and the clients wanted me on their accounts, so there was nobody for me to steal to take to my new job), and I got walked to the door. I ended up with three weeks off between jobs, and it was sheer bliss, exactly the break I needed. I took lots of long walks, read a lot, cooked, got my house in order, and did some writing. I haven’t really taken that kind of deep, long break since then. I have have gone some time without writing, but it wasn’t an intentional break. It was just procrastination, which feels different.

I hope to finish the first draft of this book today or tomorrow, and after that, I’m taking time off from serious work. I’ll still be maintaining my posting schedule and being around on social media, since I can’t really vanish while I’m launching books. I’m just not going to stick to my usual working routine. Now I just have one big scene left to write!

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