Last week I finished the rewrite on my novel, and sent it off to my critique partner to read. Since then, I’ve tried to figure out — what do I do?
Before I started on this rewriting mission, I had plenty of other projects I was working on. Reviews, short stories to write and edit, blog posts. These were things I concentrated on for a short while, a couple of days or maybe a few hours at a time, and I grew accustomed to moving between projects to keep me interested and prevent burning out on one thing.
Then, for over a month, I went back to this story, a story that I spent most of my creative time on for the past few years. I let myself get immersed in just this thing, and aside from some other obligations (some real some self-imposed) I didn’t write anything else.
Now, I’m back to that after time, waiting to hear comments and find out if more massive edits are required before I move onto the next stage again. I could go back to writing those stories, working on those other projects…but coming down from that big thing, I feel like much of my writing energy is temporarily diminished, and it’s hard to get myself back into the habit of jumping between stories and ideas.
So I’m doing little things. My critique partner sent me work of her own, almost as long as what I sent her, so I’m reading that, making comments, concentrating on helping her. And I’m letting myself stew on another novel idea, one that’s been taking shape in my head for a couple of years but still hasn’t formed any fingers or toes. I’m also going over already-written stories, ones I want to edit, fix, and send to friends so I can make a try at publishing them in magazines. Mostly, though, I’m reading, taking in children’s fantasy and adult memoir and emotional graphic novels, filling myself up with other people’s words more than I would when in the middle of my own story, letting my brain just take a break from writing and read, filling myself up so when it’s time to really, really write again, I’ll be ready.
Do you find you need a break between projects, or at least big work? What do you do to build up the motivation to write again?