Three weeks ago, I finished the first draft of my latest novel, Time Passages. I set it aside so I could empty my brain, get away from the story for a little while, and now I am waiting to begin again.
This is always the tough time for me when I’m writing a book—putting it away for a few weeks so that I can come back to it fresh and see clearly all the necessary revisions. I spend the intervening weeks reading compulsively; mulling over weaknesses in the plot or flat character development when I take my daily walks, or while driving, or while doing mindless things like washing the dishes; and writing lots of emails. Not sitting down to write every morning simply throws me off. The part of me that lives to create is both restless and bored.
The biggest danger during this downtime is sometimes my creativity latches onto a new story idea and starts running away with it. I’ll read a phrase or hear a song lyric that strikes me as a great opening to a new book. Or I’ll see someone who intrigues me, and I consider if I could use him or her in a book. If I’m not careful, plot ideas will start to emerge; interesting character traits will present themselves. I bat them all away. Now is most definitely not the time to start anything new.
So, I’m waiting to begin again. Waiting with increasing impatience and excitement. I love the revision process, making what is good better and happily tossing away what does not work. Although sometimes, what gets tossed isn’t completely tossed. It’s put in a file of potential ideas, where I might also tuck some of those tantalizing thoughts that popped up during my downtime.
One more week, and I’ll get back to Time Passages.