Calm Before the “Storm”

I will be doing Nanowrimo this year, as I’ve said already. What i haven’t said is that I won’t be working on any other fiction between now and then, and probably not any other fiction during November either.

Not working on anything else during Nanowrimo is a personal preference, and one whose benefits I assume you can determine on your own; it’s a lot of writing to do in a month, and the more you can concentrate in it, the better. Even if it is just for fun.

Not writing anything for the final week or so before Nanowrimo however, is a decision I wanted to go into with a bit more detail here.

Granted, that’s not a lot of time. A week to ten days, as I said, to not be working on any fiction at all. But I felt I needed the break. Fiction writing, at least for me, benefits from breaks and taking a hiatus here and there. This seemed like a good time to do so.

As I have said here on the blog before, I agree that a writer, particularly of fiction, must have discipline. Stories and novels don’t write themselves. If a writer isn’t careful, it’s easy to slip totally into the “contemplation” or “percolation” stage of an idea(s), and never getting around to the work of writing things down. That momentum can be difficult to overcome once it sets in. That’s why I took this ten day or so break from writing new fiction so close to Nanowrimo. I know there is a definitive deadline in the near future that will require me to get back into the habit in short order.

But after working on fixing a highly flawed partial draft, as well as completing about 15 short stories on the year so far, (not to mention a draft of a one man stage show), I was feeling a little numb. Discipline is one thing, but being mechanical is something else, and I’ve been approaching that lately. A week or so off will hopefully freshen things up in the fiction part of my brain for a while.

I advise all fiction writers to take these breaks. Pick a few days to a week or so when you are not working on something under a deadline, and do know writing. It may sound like a heresy, but I truly believe that most dedicated writers, in an effort to be productive and to avoid the inertia of doing nothing actually go too far the other way sometimes. The take off so fast for so long, so constantly that it’s more inhibiting than liberating.

Like trying to wiggle your chin after you’ve been out in the winter’s cold for a while; it’s stubborn and taught from the chill. Come inside and half some soup of some tea for a few hours, and try wiggling you chin again. (Or whatever metaphor works best for you.)

The point is, take a few days off sometimes. You fiction on the other end of it will probably be fresher.

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