Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A break is as good as a rest

Sometimes, as writers we can just push ourselves too hard. Deadlines are of course, byt the very nature of the word, killers. They can be very motivating in one sense. I, for one, might have quit and become an alocholic for a while had it not been for the deadline I had on Baby Makes Three. But by setting ourselves tight schedules, like I have for this first year writing full time, we run a very high risk of burning out. And I have been coming darn close this last while...

In fairness, since I quit full time work at the end of September I have managed to complete three manuscripts, one to a new line, and am two thirds of the way through my first ST. But I have also critted three full manuscripts, worked with two friends to pitch a continuity series and took up doing this blog. So its not like I haven't done anything for the last six odd months...

It took this last few days off over Easter for me to catch my breath again. And I'm really glad I took that time. Because we all need time to refresh the batteries and wind down from one book before we pitch into another. At the start the main struggle is just finishing one. Getting from that initial outline to pulling it all together and making it through the difficult days to the words The End. That can be challenge enough. But then you have a tendency to forget what comes next...

For the lucky ones that sell their first book, the biggest challenge is the second one. And in many ways you can feel far more pressured on your second than you did on your first. Then there's what I loving coined The Pineapple Book (a phrase which is catching on... wonder if I'll make it into the Oxford English Dictionary one day??). It's the book that was the worst to write, felt like an uphill struggle the whole way, like giving birth to a pineapple, with that spiky top still on! And after all that, the thing that starts to worry you, is staying fresh with each new book... I have nightmares about this, I swear. I know I have phrases and descriptions I already repeat to one to the other. All part of my 'unique voice' my ever patient editor says. But I'm noticing them more and more these days. And in worrying about things like that I find I trip myself up more often and come to a depressingly grinding halt.

These last few days I have been outside more, thanks to the changing season, and I finally got to start taking my horse out each day. It's my down time. And although I knew I'd missed it, I hadn't realized just how much. It's my time to focus on nothing beyond my horse and the scenery around me. And it has helped immensely... Which is timely, as my Ed is back to work tomorrow and it's time to talk scheduling and Modern Extras. I would love to get this ST finished before the next Modx if I can but tomorrow will soon tell the tale time wise. And at the end of the day, I have to go with the paying gig... I guess thats a choice we all have to make at some time or another...

In the meantime, I found some more great pics of my hero to help me along with Fighting Fate. The beauty of having a photo of each 'mood' is that I can describe facial expressions better. They give me a reference point... Well, that's my excuse for trawling the internet anyways...

1 comment:

Donna Alward said...

Trish, you realize that if you've critted three full ms's, that means I've also written three full ms's? Gggggg. Don't we just rule?

Breaks are necessary, then you go back to work with renewed vigor.