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:~: Friday, December 22, 2006 :~:

The Value of A Good Break

First, I wanted to share my cover art for my February release, What Mattered Most:

Anne did a fabulous job.

I'm in a love with it.

I did restrain myself from putting it on my Christmas cards.

But I did think about carrying around cards with the cover and ordering information on them . . . just so I could show it off.

I sound like one of those insufferably proud new parents, don't I?

One more note before I get to the point: I'm running a contest through my yahoo group. Beginning 1/1/07, I'll draw for a Samhain gift certificate every other week until WMM releases. To be entered, all you have to do is join my group (send a blank email to Linda_Winfree-subscribe AT yahoogroups DOT com). The group is for my monthly newsletter, so you don't have to worry about a flood of messages filling your inbox. Also, joining will give you access to my free online read, coming in January.


I've been on holiday break now for a week, and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. No alarm clock, no papers to grade, just me and the Monsters, doing whatever it is we need or want to do. I'm sure by the end of next week, I'll be thinking about school again, working up plans, getting excited about teaching Romeo and Juliet and The Crucible, followed by poetry in the spring.

The next week, I'll even be glad to see my students, the same kids who had me pulling my hair out in the days before Christmas break. I'm sure after taking my exam, they were ready to go a few days without seeing me, too. But when they return to school, they'll be smiling and chattering, telling me about their holidays, asking about mine, ready to go to work. (No. Seriously. They will be. I promise.)

There's nothing like a good break to change your perspective.

Recently, I took a break from writing. A looooong break.

Like a year-long break.

Oh, I fiddled with stuff. I subbed what I already had to my editor. But I wasn't really writing anything new, I removed myself from most things writing, and I focused my concentration on teaching and parenting. I'd gotten so wrapped up in writing and the ups and downs of it, that I'd lost myself. I'd let it take over my life, to the point that I couldn't find enjoyment in anything for worrying and stressing over the writing.

I let it make me unhappy.

So I let it go. I needed to let it go.

I never really doubted that at some time I'd find my way back. C'mon, we all know being a writer is more than putting words on paper. It's more than landing an agent, selling a book, becoming the top of the NYT list.

It's who we are. It's the people and images we carry around inside us, the stories that bubble and fizz and simmer within us until they spill upon the page.

I think my break is over. One of the things that pushed me away from writing in the first place was the manuscript from hell, otherwise known as Memories of Us. Yesterday, I blogged about my love-hate relationship with that book. I wanted to trash it, yet couldn't let it go. I refused to be beaten by that darn book. But I was too close to it.

So I let it go.

Well, other than sending the first three chapters to my editor to see what she thought.

She thought she wanted to see the rest when I finished it.

So I came back to it this week. I read through what I'd written (a little less than half the book), not thinking about plotting or characters or anything, just reading. When I got to where I'd left off, the end of chapter seven, I asked myself, "Now what?"

I picked up my notebook and my favorite blue pen and scratched out the answer to that question. A page and a half of plot points. The answers to "Now what?"

The best part? I went to bed last night, able to see the "what happens next," a pivotal part of my writing process. I woke up this morning with the movie of the next scene in my head. I woke up ready to write.

Ready to finally finish this darn book!

All it took was a really good break.


Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Glad to hear it, Lin. Wishing you good luck in finishing MOU. When does your editor want to see it?

11:49 AM  
Blogger Steph T. said...

Your cover is AWESOME!!! Yummy hero right on top :)

And I knew you'd find your way back to writing...it sounds like your new editor is going to be keeping you busy :)

2:48 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

She didn't give me a deadline, E . . . she's reading ABM (just sent me the contract for AFF -- Mark has a home!). I told her it would probably be January or a little later. Thanks for the good wishes!

Steph, is he gorgeous or what?! I am soooo in love with that cover. :-D

4:36 PM  
Blogger MaryF said...

Great cover, Linda!

I completely know what you mean about stressing over the writing so much you can't enjoy anything. It took Nanowrimo for me to let go of the "I Must Get Published" mindset and just enjoy writing again.

4:39 AM  

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