Refilling the creativity tank
Since I started earnestly working on Lexy #4 in July, I’ve been keeping track of my cumulative word count. Like this:
When I hit each 5,000 word milestone, I post one of these on Facebook. The images and text snippet are carefully chosen to intrigue and hint, but not give too much away.
If you look closely at my post-it notes, you will see that I have not made progress on Lexy 4 since September 22–two weeks ago. What have I been doing? Well, actually I’ve been pretty busy getting two other books ready for publication. Doing final proof and layout for Lexy Cooper Triple Threat and getting it published simultaneously in eBook and paperback, PLUS working with my editor Marti McKenna on the first Mike Malick novel Summer Wind. But it wasn’t like I didn’t have time to do any writing on Lexy 4–I chose to put it aside for awhile, focus on production (and marketing) for the other two books, and, refill my creativity tank.
What’s that? Creativity isn’t a bottomless well from which you can always draw ideas? Maybe for Stephen King. Me? Every once in a while I need to stop creating and start consuming. Feeding my imagination with books, films, music, comics, games…whatever. It isn’t research, it’s pure entertainment. I read five books* in the last two weeks. One of which was Summer Wind, but that was QA, not entertainment. (Though I fervently hope it is entertaining to my readers!). I watched a lot of movies (my husband and I are watching and reviewing 31 scary movies in October), started re-watching The Sopranos, played a bunch of hidden object games** on the PC, and pointedly did not think about Lexy and murder.
Yesterday it was time to get back at it. I began by reading through the entire Lexy 4 manuscript-in-progress. And it’s better than I remembered while mired in it every day. And I see stuff that will need fixing in the second draft, but mainly I am bubbling over with ideas and enthusiasm for this project. Today, I resume work on Lexy 4.
I know I’m usually a hardass about writing with discipline, and I do believe that you’ll never get that book written if you only work on it when the spirit moves you. But, sometimes it is necessary to take a break and soak up the creations of other people. Then, get back to your project with full tank and renewed purpose.