Leaving a manuscript alone for any length of time is good. Hours, days, weeks, even months, can be helpful. Stephen King says to put your work away for several months, which, at least for me, seems almost unimaginable. At this point however, I’m letting the current WIP simmer. I’m leaving it alone like a pot on the stove, set to low and left to bubble and stew while I have a few folks eyeballing it.
Funny thing is, since I decided to do that, I’ve opened it up a couple of times, and I’ve immediately spotted something that needs to be fixed, and admittedly, I fixed what I saw, before I closed it down again – even though I wanted to pick and poke at it.
I feel like I’m in limbo because I had a routine, a way of working on it each day and because I’m not doing that, I don’t feel like I’m being productive. Just the other day I went out in the yard on one of those upper ninety, humid sort of days and trimmed the hedges for about four hours. That didn’t feel as satisfying as writing a good solid paragraph. I baked yeast rolls, two custard pies, and cooked a couple of big meals, and still, the feeling of having wasted time was there. None of those things gave me that same sense of accomplishment.
I started doing some research for the next book, and before an hour was up, I found myself off track, reading about something totally unrelated to that next project. It’s almost as if I’ve lost focus – even if only temporary – all because I know there is more work to do on the current ms, and although I’ve given myself strict instructions to leave it alone, I wonder just how long it can last.
As of today, it’s been two weeks since I worked on my story. TWO WEEKS. That’s all, and I feel like it’s been two months. I’m antsy, twitchy, kind of nervous acting, really, and probably a pain in the butt to be around. My mind isn’t here, it’s there, in the story. I miss my characters, the setting, their world. I can’t wait to get back into it.
What’s the longest stretch of time you’ve gone without touching your manuscript?