Thursday, January 04, 2007

Changing it up...

Have you found yourself in a rut? You've been writing something for so long, perhaps it's the "Great American Novel," or maybe just an article that you've written, edited, and rewritten over a dozen times. You have reached a point where you can't even bear to open up word anymore.

What's a writer to do?

Change it up. Do something different for a day, a week, a month. Whatever it takes to come back with fresh eyes.

That's what this writer is doing now. For one month I've been laid up, not able to get to the computer much. I spent hours editing the first twenty chapters of my novel. I still have ten more to edit, plus plenty more to write but (and I never thought I'd say this), I'm sick of it. I open Word to write the next chapter, and everything sounds horrible to me. I pull out the chapters to keep on editing, and all I can think is I have to rewrite from the beginning. It's not that I lack confidence in the writing or the story. It's that I'm overloaded (or bored, if you must put it like that) with it. Keep in mind, this is my second draft. I've been writing this novel, or it's sequel, for nearly two years now.

So, I change it up. I work on mindless fanfiction, I work on my FTT article...or I RPG. RPG gives me an interactive element of meshing minds to come up with a plot line (which usually wind up totally crazy and convoluted...but that's half the fun). I don't care about how WELL I'm writing it, because it's a 200 word post at most, and if I'm an adverb whore, nobody cares. It gives me an excuse to let my imagination go insane without being too harsh on WHAT I'm writing. Then, when I get back to my novel's pages, I feel like I can focus on the 'proper' way to write, and do better at it.

So if you feel overloaded, bored, or ready to pull your hair out because you can't get something perfect...Change it up. Focus on something else, even something that has nothing to do with writing, for a while. Give your eyes, and your internal editor, a break for as long as you need to feel refreshed. Then go back. We all need a vacation...even our 'great works' deserve a break now and then.


Jean said...

So true!!! I got to the point I almost hated my romance novel. It is a good story but I'd worked on it so much I had to let it sit for a very long time before I could get back to it with an open mind.

Everyone needs a break every now and then. We shouldn't feel guilty for taking it:--)


Laurel said...

It's as though you read my mind. I've been going through the same thing. Great idea. I have other projects I can work on.

Cheryl said...

I couldn't agree more Sadie. While working on "The Sisterhood" I got to the point where I actually dreaded opening up the document. Everything I wrote was crap and it took me hours to fill an entire page.

So I did some LHOP fan fics, which always meet with rave reviews. With the distraction of new stories and praises from my friends I was able to go back to "The Sisterhood" with fresh ideas and finally finish the first draft.

Good luck!