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:~: Monday, July 17, 2006 :~:

Recharching the Muse

I read an interview with Nora Roberts a while back, and the reporter asked if she takes time off between books to rest. She said no, that when she finishes a book, she starts the next one the very next day. It's an interesting thing, being able to switch gears so fast, jump into a new story and new characters. It's even more interesting to think about the fact she does it without getting burned out.

I'll admit, I'm in awe. I finished a manuscript in the end of May and took all of June off to recharge. I'd been going nonstop for over a year, moving from one project to another without any breaks, and I was pretty worn down. Once I finished that manuscript, I had several story ideas bouncing around in my brain, and since I couldn't decide which direction I wanted to go, I figured I'd use the time to see which one was stronger and which one called to me. Problem was, neither was calling all that strongly. So I bounced back and forth, started both, but never really got into either one. Then July hit, and my life has been so hectic, I haven't been able to focus on any one idea long enough to get going.

The guilt is there. I can't believe I haven't written anything substantial in over a month. In the back of my mind, I'm thinking a month was too long, that instead of recharging me, it's done the exact opposite and hindered my progress.

Last week, DH and I went off on vacation alone. I didn't have any writing expectations for the break - knew DH would flip if I suggested I take my laptop. So instead I packed books to read on the beach. Books that would distract me from the fact I haven't been writing. There were no little voices asking for things, no dishes to be done, no diapers to be changed, no laundry to do. I didn't feel pulled in a million different directions. I laid on the beach, sunbathed, read, and - most importantly - thought. A lot. To my surprise, the location was inspiring, reading was inspiring, just doing nothing was inspiring. And hey, it's hard NOT to be inspired when you're staring at this:

The good part about this vacation is that I'm pretty sure it recharged my muse - and that's something I hadn't expected. I'm itching to get going on the writing again, and I'm now certain about which manuscript I'm going to dive into. I haven't felt like this in quite a while. The bad part is that I also came up with two other story ideas that I'm now excited to write as well. One of which starts off in a resort very similar to the one we stayed at.

I'm not always going to have the luxury of a week-long tropical vacation to recharge the muse, so my question for you today is...do you take time off between projects? If so, how long? Do you ever feel like the time off works against you? And if so, how do you force yourself to jump into something new again?


Blogger Paty Jager said...

I don't take planned time off. I finished the manuscripts for WRP and then headed to Alaska. I had planned to write here, but I can't get into the story I had planned to work on. The next one of a trilogy that I am determined needs written before I move on to anything new. However, I am being lulled and inticed by the area to come up with something set in Ketchikan and the outlying islands! I'm hoping when I get back home, and go to my family reunion set in the mountains of the trilogy, I'll get my head back into that and forget Ketchikan until I'm ready to start that story.

Ok, was that a long enough winded answer! LOL

12:09 PM  
Blogger Paty Jager said...

I do know how to spell "enticed" sorry I didn't spell check!

12:10 PM  

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