Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Three Days Off

I "finished" Under the Ember Star on Friday and for the past three days have refused to allow myself to look at it, or even think much about it. I'm a firm believer that you should always put any story or book away for a while before you do the final read through. It helps you get some needed objective distance.

I also didn't want to get started on another major project until after I finished the last read through on "Ember Star," and I haven't taken many days off this summer so far, so I decided I'd take the entire three days off from writing.

Man, am I tired of my writing vacation. I would normally try to let "Ember Star" sit a few more days but I'm too antsy and will get back to it today. I'm pretty happy to have that hunger. I played video games and read for three days, and I enjoyed it, but there was definitely something missing. Writing energizes me, feeds me intellectually in a way that video games, watching TV, and even reading can't do. It's in my blood now, or my brain, or some part of me. I reckon I'll be doing this until I die.

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31 comments:

Tom Doolan said...

So, is this yearn to get back to it different than your past experiences? Are you getting eager in your old age? ;)

Travis Cody said...

Congratulations on the "finish" and good luck on the read through.

Ron Scheer said...

I need to write for a few hours every day. The only way I can get away with not writing is to get out of the house entirely. Do something to totally distract me.

I know that itch to revise and polish, but the longer I wait, the more energy is there for the often needed major overhaul. I wrote a chapter once for someone else's book and fortunatetly it took them a year to get the project to publication. That gave me a chance for a final rewrite, and I discovered what I'd written was no better than a very rough draft. It still needed major work and it took months for me to see that.

Paul R. McNamee said...

That's a great yearning to have.

Deka Black said...

More or less like me with my blog. i need to type something every day or can't be calm.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I usually don't let my work sit for long - mostly because by the time I finish, I've forgotten the beginning!

X. Dell said...

Congratulations. And good luck keeping away from Ember Star. Every time I finished a fiction work, the first thing I wanted to do was edit. Of course, since I haven't sold anything, I would have all the time in the world to edit stuff:-) I need not have rushed.

Redraft early and often, I say.

The novel spaces piece I found interesting. Would I be reading too much into your post if I made a connection between its contents and your CitL protagonist?

Jess said...

Yearn: Have an intense feeling of loss or lack and longing for something; To have a strong, often melancholy desire. To feel deep pity, sympathy, or tenderness.

I started to say I want to yearn too but then I felt this intense warning to be careful what I wish for so I'll just say congrats on finishing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Tom,I think a lot of it is that I've developed so much momentum writing every day this summer that I don't want it to end.

Travis Cody, thanks. I'm looking forward to it.

Ron, Oh I'm sure the final revision will take longer than I want. It always seems to happen. Nothing comes easy.

Paul, I think so. I'm glad for it.

Deka, you get into the groove and you hate to set it aside.

Alex, sometimes at this stage a rereading is like going through a new book, but I think that's helpful in that you have to figure out whether you really said what you had intended to say, or whether you just 'think' you said it.

X-Dell, I actually believe very strongly that you need a few days at least away from a piece at the end to develop some objective distance. I've done it most of my career and maybe it's just the way my mind works now. yes, Kyle was definitely that type of character, and one of my first attempts to really do the 'hybrid' type of character. Good catch.

Jess, I would say by last night I was feeling kind of empty and had to actually force myself to stay away from the story.

Oscar said...

I'm getting a little less enthusiastic about writing every day and find that it goes better with a setting aside of "finished" pieces and a switch to something else for a period of time.

David J. West said...

That's one of those things I know I need to do ( and yet I almost never do) and I am sure I have suffered for it.

I'm going to have to make it a point to follow your example better.

Cloudia said...

Congrats, Charles.

Yes, putting your piece away for a while before declaring it 'done' is very important - thanks.


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The Golden Eagle said...

Congratulations on finishing!

When I finished the first draft of the story I'm rewriting, I gave it two weeks before jumping back into it--and tried to focus on other projects during that time. I think it did help, in the long run.

eric1313 said...

Congratulations! Always nice to see the people around me moving forward within their art.

Yes, I am digging at my own creative stasis.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, I imagine it’s different for different folks. I’ve never found it better to skip days, although I’ve found it generally doesn’t hurt a lot to miss a day here and there. The time break is important for major projects, though

David J. West, There’s also the matter of “habit.” If you get into a habit of doing it a certain way then that often becomes the most effective way for you to work.

Cloudia, hum, I thought I had visited your post today. I’ll check it out.

The Golden Eagle, two weeks is a good time. I like to do that when I can.

eric1313, always feels good to make progress.

Angie said...

Congrats, hon! :D Finishing a story, even if it still needs sandpaper, is my very favorite milestone in the writing game.

Angie

the walking man said...

Remember to put a paper sack in your back pocket in case you start to hyperventilate from being away from the writing for three whole days.

oceangirl said...

congratulations charles. i think (i can only think because i am not a writer) i think it is true that you needed the distance but how far can you go from a book that you have just given birth to??

ivan said...

Well, join the rest of us obsessive-compulsives.
Not sure though. I too was a rational man until I started fishing in forbidden streams and chasing moonbeams in the dark...(Whoops, leaning too heavily on old Mencken there).

Dostoevsky says somewhere that we were all meant to be engineers or scientists till we take up the bugger trade of writing.

But take heart. Your natural talent, in moment (or hour) of clarity will aid you in unsnagging wherever you might find a logjam in the current work.
You can probably fix it right now.
Works for me, anyway.
Heh. Crummy trade, this writing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, sometimes finishing leaves you a little empty but it didn't this time. I was very happy.

Mark, good advice. Or maybe just a shot of heroin to calm me down.

oceangirl, Not very far in truth.

ivan, yeah, writing demands a lot and gives back little, it seems.

BernardL said...

It does help to clear your mind a bit before a final reading. Otherwise, there is a tendency for the mind to fill in or skip over, because you've read and edited the material so much it's easy to miss the small stuff.

Rick said...

Congrats, Charles! I'm 260 pages into a new novel and can't get it out of my head whether I'm sleeping or awake.

Jodi MacArthur said...

You're so funny, Mr. G! I'm still glad you took those three days off, even though they sound a bit like torture. I hope you are happily reading and editing away your first draft.

eric1313 said...

Writing demands a lot but it does give back in ways that are internally pleasing, as your post says--it makes you sharp, it provides focus, it takes you to that plateau within that you know nothing else can take you to.

Yeah yeah, I know, i need to do it more then talk about focusing sharply on plateaus... :)

eric1313 said...

Some writers will tell you the writing process only makes them miserable, but you know they are lying, because we all are averted by that which makes us truly miserable--and being attracted to misery is not really misery is it? It's something asked for and received with morbid pleasure mixed with trepidation, like a skydiver who started leaping from open planes in flight because they were afraid of heights and probably still are.

Charles Gramlich said...

BernardL, yes, exactly. I've already caught several things I completely overlooked before.

Rick, It certainly can consume you.

Jodi MacArthur, oh indeed I am.

eric1313, There are times when I find writing frustrating, but it's never really miserable. And my best days at writing are more fun than just about anything else I can do by myself. :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

I feel guilty if I don't write but damn it takes a toll on my eyes.

Carole said...

Doing it until you die is a good thing. Have great fun getting back to Ember Star.

Erik Donald France said...

Congrats and cool, that's the spirit to have about one's calling~~ Three days and the stone is rolled away.

Charles Gramlich said...

pattinase, I'm beginning to experience more eye strain myself these days. I hope it doesn't get any worse.

Carole, thankee. So far so good.

Erik, lol. Didn't think of that!

Merisi said...

"Man, am I tired of my writing vacation."

*smile*