After a Break

It’s been a while since I posted. We’ve had visitors. Our son graduated from high school last Friday and a horde of relatives descended on our little town, increasing its population–up over 1850, anyway. I served grilled margarita pork chops and potato salad to nine, roast beef spaghetti and green salad to sixteen and leftovers to eleven for lunch before everybody headed home again.

On top of all that, our daughter and her 2-year-old spent the week before graduation with us. I love the grandboy dearly, but he’s a big two, and he wanted to play on the computer. Or with the CDs in the rack on the desk. He would take two or three out of the cases and carry them around, look through the holes, lick them, scrape them together, carry them with his sticks, which he also loves… And he didn’t want the old CDs I gave him. Nooooo, he wanted MY CDs. The Important CDs. Sigh. And because he’s so big, (this is the boy who weighed over 10 pounds when he was born) he’s strong and heavy and hard to drag off the desk chair when he goes limp or fights to stay. Of course, he did fall asleep on the computer chair with his face on the seat and his knees tucked up under him. He’d had a hard day that day.

But we had fun sharing oranges and jumping off the arm of the couch onto Gigi (me) and Granddaddy. When cousin Ben (3 years old) came for a short visit, they chased each other and had a great time. The house has several circles a little guy can run, sorta like a track. Of course, once everybody went home, I collapsed and pretty much slept all day Sunday.

And now it’s time to go back to work. And I have to figure out how to get the brain back into gear. This isn’t an unusual occurence. “Breaks” happen all the time in a writer’s life. We may be writing one story and have to leave it to write another, or deliberately leave it, as often happens when we send in a proposal and stop to wait and see what its reception is. Then, when the editor or agent wants to see the rest of the story, or even buys the story on proposal and we have a deadline to meet to write the rest of it–we have to get our head back into the story.

There aren’t actually many ways that writers do this. Mostly, we get out what’s been written already and read over it again. If there’s a synopsis, we might read over that. Some can hop right back in at that point. I usually have to think a little more, depending on what I have to get back into. If it’s just an edit or revision–depending on how extensive the revision is, I might be able to start in at that point. But often, I have to “think out loud.”

I have to write stuff down, usually in the “blank book” I keep for my version of the Artist’s Way morning pages. It’s not as big as Julia Cameron says you need to write in, and I don’t always write in the morning and I don’t always write every day, but I do write in the thing on a semi-regular basis–especially when I’m actively creating. I’ve found that it’s a good place to brainstorm with myself, to work out plot problems, develop character and conflict. (I write the title in the margin so I can find it again, or the character’s names if the story has no title yet.) Somehow, thinking in ink like this is more creative to me and easier to remember what happened.

One Response to After a Break

  1. Hi, Gail. My name is Rachele, and I just read Compass Rose about a week ago. I was really impressed. Thanks for a great read!

    I went online to see what else you had done, and found this wonderful little blog site. I did have one question…if its not a top secret family recipe, what is roast beef spaghetti? It sounds delicous.

    Well, have a great day, thanks (again) for that wonderful story, and good luck with brainstorming.

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