When Yielding is Wise

hollybarbo author, Patience and writing, the creative process 2 Comments

Last summer I was writing a new story. There were elements that I really liked but I hadn’t totally worked out the whole concept of the book. It was about a third done in its draft form when my mom died. Through the ensuing weeks the writing was set aside. From May through August I only wrote about three or four chapters, the last being right after her memorial.

Life intervened again in assorted ways and I have just not gotten back to it. The story has brooded in the back of my mind for about nine months now. Over that time I have decided that there were parts of the plot that I just wasn’t happy with. I have backed away from it as I pondered what was there, from several angles. Mentally trying this idea or that to see if it fit.

I didn’t resist or fret over this long pause even though it was totally different from how my series of stories flowed out of my fingertips. For those books I was writing a chapter a day. Now my story is coming back together again. I will be starting the re-write soon.

I am sharing all of this because I yielded to the absence of my creative muse. I just let the pressure melt away. Hopefully what will come from my hiatus will be better for that vacation. Gee I wish I could be so patient with other aspects of my life. I would benefit from continuing that exercise. (:

Comments 2

  1. Luke Raftl

    This is very wise, Holly!

    I found writing my first book that I would do it in waves: a few weeks or months of intense obsession with it followed by just as long a period of relative quiet. There were many reasons for this: burnout, distractions, mood, traveling across the US for 5 months (!), etc. I used to worry, but these absences from the process are, I feel now, just as important as those times of creative frenzy.

    I’m always amazed when I read a blog or someone on twitter that has set routines and must write every day every day every day to finish a project! Perhaps it is personal taste or style, whatever works for one person may not for another, but I need my time away sometimes, so that when I return I am fresh and can attack it with renewed vigour!

  2. hollybarbo

    Well, Luke… I’ve done both ways… Not that I was disciplined and set a schedule. But my first two came so quickly that I was averaging a chapter a day. The next two were just slightly slower. I really think that this book, though, will be better for the hiatus. I appreciate the feedback. When I started writing I didn’t have the fellow-writer support community to know how others wrote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *