I just came across something I retweeted a year ago from Novelicious (@noveliciouss), who shares lovely pictures and photos with inspirational messages, often about the writing process. She is well worth the follow. Her quote this time was:
The reason it struck me now is because I am sort of on vacation. I am visiting my 94-year-young dad in England and I am also about three-quarters through a first draft of a new medieval fantasy novel.
Similar to when at home, I rise early to write, exploit the time my dad snoozes in his chair, and then continue after he goes to sleep at night. I have other plans for my downtime: work out, read three novels I bought for the trip (and one non-fiction), write a few blog posts for my much-neglected blog, prepare to solicit a few agents for the Kingfisher series, and read up on buying a house and related financial topics for which I have books and articles queued.
The only thing on this list that I have done is to work out in the morning before writing. Otherwise (and I guess this blog post as well), I feel compelled to write and write and write. When I go out with my dad, I spend the time thinking of the next chapter (or the last) and wondering if he would notice if I whip out my laptop and disappear.
What @noveliciouss wrote about writers on vacation is so true, but I am not complaining. I fantasize that I would like downtime: to lie by a pool, walk along the beach, or pursue a number of hobbies that I will one day get deep into (when I retire, I think) – fly fishing, archery, birdwatching, yoga – but I never do.
I am a writer. I write.
On a recent road trip, I wrote about what happens when I have to get an idea down on paper (or computer) It is so true. Where is the next rest stop?
I have three novels from the Kingfisher series ready (and looking for an agent). I promised myself I would write only one and see what traction this new genre held. But the beginning of the second book beckoned. I had this idea. I could feel the characters calling me. And after Book 2 was written, well then the tale simply demanded closure and I had the climax formulating in my mind as I weaved all still-living main characters into one place. So what’s a poor author to do? Finish the series and then look for an agent.
I did exactly that, except I didn’t. While reading to my writers group, someone mentioned an elderly character that she especially loved and, well I blame the character not my fellow writer, because she (the character) gave me this idea and…
So here I am, 90k into a new book, a new but, connected, series, and I am on vacation, and…okay, @noveliciouss, you’re right, as you knew perfectly well, all along.
Alon Shalev / elfwriter
Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of Galbrieth, and five other Wycaan Master books all published by Tourmaline Books.
More at http://www.alon-shalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter).
Just a quick Chag Shavuot Sameach… Don’t forget to eat the cheese cake.
You too, Nora.
In my case I spread my thinking/doing around: writing, art making, quilting/quilt restoration (my own or my for my business), organizing/de-cluttering/de-stashing, grandkids, ad infinitum. Not enough hours in the day. Something always goes by the wayside.
I look forward to hearing the next chapter in your new novel and your return to herding the BWC writer cats. And, if you somehow were able to watch it, your take on the last episode of Game of Thrones. If not, I won’t spoil it for you.
For me, a vacation from writing is like a vacation from eating or a vacation from sleeping. An occasional break from writing is fine, but spending too much time away from writing is really not healthy for me.
Couldn’t agree with you more!
I LOVE this! Interestingly enough, the theme of my latest blog post was writing about writing. I swear, when I go on vacation, my husband purposely makes sure all our electronics are uncharged so I have no access to my laptop to carve out time to write while camping. But this doesn’t stop me from “writing” in my head. There are notes on notebooks, thoughts for subplots while glancing out at the lake on a Kayak. And for me, Yoga and bird watching are not downtime—these activities help with the flow of words onto paper.
After two straight years of dedicating full time to writing my sequel (I’m not retired and need to get back to my career to contribute financially to my family/son’s upcoming college tuition), I feel compelled to take a step back, flesh out the story in my heart, and see where the story takes me. But my readers tell me they need closure on book 2! Yikes! And my characters are clawing at my head to make a comeback. They even talk to me in my dreams.
So somehow in between securing new work, writing to my son’s school district to service his autism better, finally getting back to the home and garden I’ve neglected while so focused on my writing, finding an agent, traveling with my family and taking MUCH needed time to get out into nature and that long list of outdoor activities we do within this beautiful thing called life—I’ll write that third novel. I haven’t stopped working on my writing project, just a different focus: marketing hell and refining the platform. check out my website updates!
This here BWC writer cat knows my comment is too long and needs editing!
Great stream of consciousness, Terri Lynn. Looking forward to the next novel.
Thanks, Alon! That comment coming from you means so much to me. I have a lot of respect for you. In what you do for work, your writing, hour—humanity.