Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I took a writing break. To write.

To think that my day started out a little bleak. 

I couldn't explain it before, but I realized today what it was. This might sound a little weird, but I blame one of my characters. 

See, when I first started to write Doorways, the characters came into my head and told me what happened. 

No, I have to get the voice to come out strong. I have to get into their heads. 

And let's just say that there's a head that I don't find very comfortable. When I started  to revise this part of the story, I thought it would be easy. Only one voice to deal with, right. 

Uhm... Yes... But... 

That one voice is trying to drag me to memories of me the closest I've ever been to depression. 

So... no. Not easy. Because there's just no freaking break from it. I can only hope that it reads better than it writes.

Anyway, I ended up writing the first part of a book that's been in my head for a while, but only fell into place when I went to visit friends a few weeks ago. 

Just like that, my day improved. I really like the story premise. And to be honest, I love the thrill of drafting something new after months of only focusing on Doorways. 

I'll get back to the revisions tomorrow, though. Don't want to fall behind just because my focus wandered. 

Doorways is still the love of my life. 

I'd just made a new friend. 

Have you ever needed to break from writing or editing because a character became too much? Has something like that ever happened to you? How do you deal with it? 

30 comments:

Tony Benson said...

Fascinating. I sometimes find my characters a little too demanding, but none has yet dragged my mood down.

I think it's a good point, though, that sometimes a break from a piece of work can end up bringing more productivity to it rather than holding it up.

I quite like having more than one work on the go, as it means I can carry on with something pretty much whatever mood I'm in.

lbdiamond said...

Well, you want your writing to evoke emotions...however, you don't want to get depressed. I'm glad you thought of taking a break--GREAT IDEA!

Theresa said...

My characters are very demanding as well - and I only have three so far. Too bad for them, I don't scare easy.

Carole Anne Carr said...

I'm rather cowardly in this respect, write for children and avoid this problem, but next year hope to write a novel for grown-ups, heaven help me...

Laura Marcella said...

I've had to take a break from writing a story, and I go and write something else. It seems to help best!

heidi ruby miller said...

Hello Misha!

I had a number of hits on my blog from this one, so followed those visitors over and loved what I saw. I especially like how you "cast" your characters. In fact, I'm starting a new author series about casting characters. If you'd be interested in participating, please let me know at heidirubymiller@gmail.com.

Cheers,
Heidi

anthony stemke said...

I think when you get stuck, a small diversion is good and even inspiring.

Michael Offutt said...

You know...you don't have to explain your craziness. We accept you for who you are. Personally, I gave up on trying to meet sane people. Everyone in the world is crazy and they are all sucking up different colors of Kool-Aid.

Angela Felsted said...

I'd say that's a good sign because it means you're invested. Last week I had a very rough time with some of the stuff I researched to write my story, with getting into certain people's heads while still maintaining my own perspective. Boundaries are hard. I don't know if they're harder for writers than for others. But I definitely struggle with them.

Hart Johnson said...

How interesting. Yeah, you need a break from something like that. I think I must compartmentalize really well--I can write with tears streaming down my face it's so painful, but when I step away I feel relief and just sort of amazed at having tapped it. There is an exhilaration that is what sticks... (this may be why I really love reads and movies that are this way, too)

MISH said...

I'm sure that after a little break you return with a fresh perspective ?

Scheherazade said...

I call it character possession and I've learned to trust it. But once in a while, you may need to take a break or step back.

Elena Solodow said...

Yeah, that can definitely be a challenge. all writing is personal, and some is going to hit a lot closer than you want it to - but it's always important work to deal with in the long-run. It makes sense you'd need to step away, then you can come back to it fresh!

Amy said...

This happens to me all the time! It's one of the reasons I work on to WIP at the same time. It gives me a little breather from one, and a fresh start on the other.

It's good to take breaks and work on other things for a while. Nice easy to clear ones busy mind. :)

Sarah Allen said...

Very interesting. Sounds challenging, but I hope it turns out to be well worth it.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Joyce Lansky said...

I remember working on one novel that just hit too close to home. Anything too true to life is a challenge to write, so I try to give the truth a fictional edge and exaggeration.

Joyce
http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

Stephanie said...

Oh yes...when inspiration strikes, I usually take advantage. And sometimes it's nice to get away from something, even if only for a day...puts it into better perspective.

mooderino said...

Painful as it might be I think it will produce good material to work with. If you can feel it chances are the reader will to. But yes, hard to stay on that mind set for days on end. Sounds like you're doing well though.

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino

Geoff Maritz said...

You are so blessed to have characters about whom you are writing. I can't imagine how challenging it must be to write fiction. Writing about your own experiences is much easier, been there, done that kind of thing. Personally I think you are extremely brave, considering everything you have on your plate right now.
God bless you my young friend and go for it, Geoff.

Sarah said...

It's always energizing to start something new--though it sounds like it was difficult in this case as well. Good luck as you balance your two projects!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I understand what you've gone through. Some characters are just difficult to get into. Good luck with your revisions.

Steph Schmidt said...

I took a long break after writing a hard scene. I think instead I should have tried writing something else until I could approach the scene with a better frame of mind. Next time you go to edit that book though make sure you end with a hug from someone. Certainly curbs the trips back to dark moments inside my own life.

Julie Musil said...

Sometimes I need to take a break when I've hit a wall and can't figure out where to go next. A little break, taking a walk, watching a good movie, that always seems to help.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That hasn't happened to me. I had to put one WIP aside for a bit because the voice for the SNI had become too strong and was sneaking into my other WIP.

magpiewrites said...

Last summer I wrote the book I'd been writing 'in my head' for ten years. It was the first book I'd ever written. Since I'd been thinking about it and polishing bits of it for so long, when it was committed to page it was an uneven mess. Parts of it are good, I think. Parts of it are awful, but all of it is parts - doesn't gel as a whole. I took a break. put it in a drawer and threw myself headlong into a new project during NaNoWriMo. I definitely felt like I was giving up, but I couldn't find a way past 'the wall." The Nano project turned into my second book, which I just finished and the differences between the two ms. are stunning. For me, flow is better than push and a break from writing IS a form of writing.

Rachna Chhabria said...

My characters are demanding, but they also know how to toe the line. Sometimes I am bogged down by the story, kind of overwhelmed, then a small little break doing something I enjoy energizes me and I am raring to go.

Carla said...

Even when I take a break from writing, I keep going over ideas and characters in my mind. I don't know if I could actually get away from it all even if I tried! Though, sometimes letting things simmer for a bit really does improve them!

Carla

Katie said...

This happens to me too. Sometimes a story is just making me too depressed, or too frustrated, and I have to take a break and work on something else for my own sanity! As long as temporary breaks don't turn into permanent ones, I think this can be a good idea. It lets me clear my head on a project.

Misha said...

Tony that is definitely something I keep in mind. If I jam up my writing because I insisted on pushing myself, I'm going to take a lot longer to recover than if I'd just taken the break when I started to feel the resistance.

Thanks, LB. I'm so glad that I took that break. When I returned to my edits, I could see all the places where my mind refused to go into the character's POV.

Hehehe Theresa I don't scare easy either. Good thing, or my story might still have been just another idea.

Hahaha Carole. It's generally not that bad. This snuck up on me because I didn't think of the character as being that way. So my writing just got bleaker and bleaker, dragging me with it. Good luck with your books and your preparation for an Adult story.

Laura I suspect so too. It's enough to snap out of the funk without stopping the flow of writing/editing. I'll definitely do it again.

Thanks so much for coming over, Heidi. I'm really excited about your upcoming series.

Michael, that's so true. Sanity is over-rated. ^_^

Angela I think it's a good sign too, as long as it doesn't affect me outside of the story. I must admit that I do find the boundaries thing a little challenging.

Hart you're lucky. I'm the sort of person that's highly sensitive to emotion and if I don't make a point to get rid of it, negative emotions stick around, even if it comes from my own imagination.

Mish, definitely. Already seen it working.

Misha said...

Schehrazade, that's true. I do let my characters take over. Which is probably why this one took me off guard. :-)

I agree, Elena. It's deeply personal now, because my personal demons seem to be appearing on the page without my realizing it. Maybe I needed a panacea. In the mean time, the break helped me to get back to it without getting dragged down.

Amy, you have a good point. I focused on Doorways for a long time because the stories take up a lot of space in my head. But now with edits, I'm able to do other works too.

Sarah, so far it has been. :-)

Joyce, that's true. Luckily I'm not that similar to this character. She's just a little sick of dealing with the way life's treated her. So it should be lots easier to write as she realize that the new turn in her life is for the better.

Stephanie, I'm so glad that I paid attention to my new idea. It's been an idea that's been drifting around in my head since before Doorways, but just never took shape. And now I have an idea to work on and the strength and concentration needed to improve my book.

Mood, that's what I'm counting on. That's one reason why I'm not even considering changing the character.

Geoff, I think it's harder to write about your own experiences, because you have to call up all your memories, including the bad ones and the emotions that go with it. Still, I'm blessed with my ability to tell stories.

Thanks Sarah! It is a bit tricky, but as long as I keep my writing priorities straight, I shouldn't have any problems.

Kathi, some characters are. This one I got into a bit too easily.

Steph I definitely suggest that you give it a try. And yes. I really should end edits with a hug.

Julie I do that too. If I try to force ideas, my muse packs up and goes on holiday.

Stina that's one reason why I didn't like writing other stories while I was drafting Doorways. I have to keep the voices in Doorways separate. Another book would just have complicated it for me.

Magpie, that is an excellent point to make. Taking a break frees my mind up to prepare for the next session. :-) Good luck with your WiPs!

Haha Rachna, my characters left me under no illusion as to who's running the story. ^_^ My break definitely energized me.

Carla, my mind is like that too. I thought it would be better with Doorways finished, but now I'm mulling the effects that the changes to the story will have.

Katie I agree with you. I don't like the idea of setting stories aside for later every time a new idea comes up. So I tend to keep an order in my mind. Doorways is First Story. My new idea is actually Third Story. Second Story is almost done, but I haven't touched it in a while and don't have the time to read it now. :-)