Thursday, May 29, 2008

Taking the Summer "Off"

Ahh, doesn't that headline conjure up images of lazy afternoons by the pool, on the beach, or at the boat? It's always been a secret fantasy of mine to take a summer completely "off." So, in case my boss is reading this, let me set his mind at ease when I acknowledge that I don't mean that job. I do, however, plan to take the summer off from writing. 


Did I say that out loud?

You heard me write, er, I mean right. My brain is fried. My fingers are tired. And even my laptop has been grumpy lately. The words, which have always come a little too easily, have stopped showing up. I'm not hearing voices, running dialogue, or composing scenes in the shower. I don't wake up lately thinking about anything other than the routine plans for the day. That is odd and it's a sign that a break is in order.

In consultation with my editor, I recently made some significant revisions to an MS I wrote last summer. I'm pleased with how it came out in light of the fact that I was flying solo without my writing partner (Ms. Muse, who took off without a word a few weeks ago). The ideas gelled, the story flowed, and the revisions made it a better book, but the process did not, as I had hoped, jump start the desire to write. My WIP, the second in what I hope will be a long-running series featuring two characters I'm crazy about, started to feel like teeth being pulled a month or so ago. I put it down and stepped aside for a while, hoping to get back to it when Ms. Muse returned. 

However, a week or so ago, I received a picture postcard of HERSELF sitting pool side in Monaco, letting me know that she planned to extend her vacation through the summer. The bitch never even consulted me! At first I fumed. Who does she think she is? She works for me, not the other way around! After a day or two of ranting (and raving), I realized that since she is the key to it all and without her I am nothing more than the person I was before she showed up in the first place, I'd better shut up and suck it up. I want her back, but not until she's ready to come home. Perhaps a little time away from each other will be good for both of us. We've been working together, nonstop, every day for more than four years. We have done a lot of good work together—work we are both very proud of. If she wants this break, I guess she's earned it and so have I. What do I plan to do with all my newfound time? Here's a brief list:

1. Spend as much time doing nothing with my kids as I can. They are soon-to-be 13 and 10. I have a handful of summers left where they will be looking to me to entertain them in some way or another. So on the days they are not sailing and when work permits, I will spend the afternoons with them doing whatever they want to do.
2. Promote "Line of Scrimmage," which will be out on September 1. I will never again get to experience the particular headiness that comes with watching my debut novel wind its way to publication. I plan to enjoy every minute of it and to do everything I can to to ensure its success.
3. Read. I have a huge "to be read" pile next to my bed, including several of my Sourcebooks sisters' books as well as novels by other great people I've gotten to know in the last year. I've decided to read Jane Austen this summer. I have never read any of her books, and I'm curious as to what all the hoopla is about. I also plan to read "Gone with the Wind." I've seen the movie but have never read the book. This summer I will rectify that.
4. Think about what I want to write next. Will it be finishing the WIP? Or will it be something new? I have a few ideas here and there. Stay tuned. I'll let you know when I figure it out.
5. Chill. I've let a lot of the "business" side of writing get to me lately. I have no doubt that's why The Muse took off for Europe. If I want to get her back, it's time to take a big fat chill pill. Hopefully, she will find an Internet cafe, read this posting, and know I am serious about wanting her back and fixing our relationship. 

There are detractors out there who don't believe I can do it, who think within a week or two I'll be back at to banging on the keyboard. I'm not setting out to prove anyone wrong, but I have a feeling this break is going to stick around for a while. So until Ms. Muse returns, I'm on a writing vacation! I can't wait to see what transpires.

What's your plan for the summer?


Linda Wisdom said...

Way too easy to say you'll take time off from writing, but you never can tell!

For me, I have one book due July 1 and another due November 1. Plus, I'll be attending the Romance Writer's Conference in San Francisco the end of July.

My muse is a demanding witch and refuses to leave me alone. Hm, maybe I could take her into taking a short trip.


Marie Force said...

Thanks for coming by, Linda. Sounds like you have a hectic couple of months ahead writing about all your witchy friends! Believe me, I'm wondering if I will last two weeks without getting twitchy--let alone three months!!

Anonymous said...

Hugs on the draught, but I am glad to hear that you're making lemonade out of the lemons. May a respite this summer be just the thing to nurture your muse and bring her back in full force come the fall!

Marie Force said...

Thanks for coming by, Jessica! I've thought of some more stuff for my to-do list this afternoon, so I'm making plans to kick back and chill-lax as my children like to say. Don't tell Ms. Muse that I am glad she punched out for a while. She was wearing me out!

Hope you're having a good writing week.

Mary said...

Hey Marie:

Hope this doesn't mean you're taking a break from your blog. I like to visit you here...

Marie Force said...

Hi Mary,
No vacation from the blog. I will be chronicling life without Ms. Muse during the summer. Come back and see where HERSELF has landed and what adventures I am having in HER absence!