Friday, January 24, 2014

Absence Makes the Heart More Realistic

by Mare Ball from Adventures in the Ballpark

I got back to work this week.  Having been sick since Christmas, it took me awhile.  I've had different health issues recently, and writing has been on the back burner.  It's amazing how hard it is to get back in the groove after a month of being off track.

Getting back to my WIP, I discovered this - some things really needed a do-over.

Words I'd written in July, after a month of not looking at them, didn't seem so great.  I also discovered I had too many graphics/photographs in certain chapters of my (how-to) book.  The whole thing just looked different.  Surprisingly, it was not too painful to remove some things and edit out chunks here and there.  This week, I've tightened and shortened and, hopefully, improved my book.

So, I've decided that month off was quite beneficial.  Who knew.  All month, I was feeling bad because I hadn't disciplined myself to get back to the computer.  I just gave in to my head cold and my puzzling joint pain and napped a lot.  I felt lazy and unproductive, but I wasn't ready to open my working files yet.

When I'm in writing mode, it's intense around here.  I can write for eight hours, I can work until two a.m., I can stay in the chair until my bladder begins to protest.  I love uninterrupted hours of working; I make a lot of progress that way.  And, of course, when I'm in the zone, everything I write is brilliant.      

Or, so it feels. 

I've been working on this book steadily all year, but I've had days here and there where I couldn't get  to it.  When I've returned to it, it's familiar, and I know exactly where to start, what to re-work.   After a month away from it, it was a different experience.  I felt less enamored, less attached.

More objective.

This is a very good thing.  Here's why: every editor or publisher is going to view my work objectively, not enamored-ly.  So, I'm ahead of the game if I can gain that perspective now

Time away (and not just a few hours) from my WIP clearly reduced some of my captivation with my own creation.  This will help me out when I find a publisher, and he/she requires I chop every third sentence.  My book is my baby, but if it's to gain any recognition in the publishing world, it has to stand on its own, apart from the adoration of its mama.

I'm inspired again to get this book and its book proposal finished.  That month wasn't wasted after all.

Have you found time away from your WIP gives you a new perspective?


  1. I had the same experience when I took a break from my NaNo novel to edit something else. Returning to it has been eye opening, to say the least. It's not the adorable charming book I thought I wrote. But it will be, darn it!

  2. Absolutely! One of my favorite parts of Stephen King's book, "On Writing" was when he said that you should put your manuscript away in a drawer and forget about until, when you finally do take it out, it looks like "some alien relic purchased at a yard sale where you don't even remember stopping." Objectivity is definitely helpful!

  3. Kasey, what a great quote from King! Had not heard that before. Buy, oh so funny and true!

  4. isn't it nutty how, in the moment, we think our work is so good??!!



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