Joel’s Journal – May 27, 2016 – Happy Friday!
It’s one of those things I just let my brain take the wheel for.
I have many rules for my own writing, well, not many, five actually and probably a few more, but those ones are just floating loose around in my head and I generally follow them only when I remember that they are actually there in the first place.
Just like the formation of a story itself, I don’t like to bog down the writing process with too much law and order. I find when that happens, your mind ends up looking like a busy street during construction season, and we all know how well things move in a situation like that.
No, with most of my projects, I just allow the story to take itself wherever it wants to go. I always think about it like paddling a canoe out into the middle of a wide, flat lake. Once you find a good spot, with a nice view of the surrounding trees and sky above, slipping the paddle down into to the well of the canoe, laying back and letting the canoe and the wind drift where it wants. You don’t want to throw away the paddle because you’re going to need that baby once things get rough and you need to redirect yourself, but until then, as they say, just go with it.
I mention this because in the same way I go about my writing projects, I go about waiting to start a new one.
I’ve been busy at work on a short story these last few days and have neglected by blog posts, but you know what…priorities.
The story is finished, and now comes the question of what next?
It’s the same feeling I get after finishing a really good book. I’m kind of left with this empty feeling, like the curtain has finally been pulled back and you realize it really was fiction all along. It takes a little while to recover from that.
And in the same way I mentioned crawling out of my imagination after each writing session, it takes a little time to get over one project and start another.
Generally, I give myself at least a few days just as a reward for finishing.
I think this is key, and if you’re on the backend of a project, I recommend you do the same. You’ve just completed something so many people say they are going to do, but never actually do. You’ve written a complete story.
Now, mind you, it may only be good enough to find its way into the bottom stratum of the garbage can, but it’s still finished. So take a couple days off.
Even if you’re raring to go on another project, that feeling will more than likely stick around, it always does at the beginning.
After those first couple days of post-completion bliss, I just let my brain decide when it’s ready for the next run through the gauntlet.
I’m sure this would make an interesting study, but I’m certain something seriously intricate is happening deep inside our brains when we write fiction. Perhaps it’s something not even our fancy technology could pick up, but opening doors to fake worlds, even though they’re imaginary, has to have some kind of strain on the canals of our think tanks.
So with that in mind, I always let him completely recover and stay away from the keyboard.
For me, the average is about two weeks. It’s been as long as a month before (that was after I finished my first novel Horizon’s End) and as short as a week, which is generally my turn-around time for short stories.
Just don’t rush it, and trust me, he’ll let you know when he’s ready.
Thanks for reading,