Monday, August 30, 2010

Celebrations and Breaks

At last I’ve finished my first draft. I’m so excited and I wanted to share the good news with my blogging friends. Can you hear the celebrations?

I feel it has taken me too long: 3 months to write 89k words (If they were polished words I’d be stoked – Aussie slang for ‘more than thrilled’). But I slowed down three quarters of the way through and allowed doubts to get to me.

My plan now is to take 2 weeks off from the book before I start editing. This will give me the much needed distance to do the chop. I might write some short stories that have been whispering to me for a long time. Or I might draft up some ideas for another book. After that, I’ll begin the tortuous editing stage. I plan to rip my WIP apart and piece it back together again. I may need a mountain of dark chocolate for this stage.

How important are breaks for you as a writer? What are some things you do to take a break from your current projects? How often do you take a break?

*photo: Hong Kong Disneyland

38 comments:

  1. I took a little break, but not because I'd finished my latest project. Got sucked up into Starcraft II.

    Congratulations, Lynda!!

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  2. Alex, you made me laugh. I'm a bit of a gamer myself (which is bad for the writing!!). I once won the nationals in Red Planet, Virtual World. I went to America to compete and won the internationals. I was the only female competitor. Fun times. I also dabble in Warcraft (not as much as I used to though).

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  3. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I'm so happy for you!!! It's such a great feeling and a huge accomplishment!!!

    I used to not take breaks from my writing, just jump right in and revise but it didn't work out. Now waiting it out and enjoying that excitement you feel to just finish it is awesome! Keeps me level headed for the next road ahead!

    Congrats again!!!

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  4. Jen, thanks so much!! It's a wonderful feeling (especially since my previous books took me YEARS to write).

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  5. Yeah! Good for you finishing your rough draft! I'm so glad to hear you say you're taking two weeks off before starting revisions. So many people rush through revisions. And rush into revisions. I actually came to like the revision process, and still enjoy it.

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  6. Melissa, I get frustrated in the revision process. it's not as freeing as 'just writing'. But it's far easier if I take a step back first :)

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  7. hip hip hooray!!!
    breaks are super important... but two weeks isn't long enough for me to get distance. i find critting really helps me look at my WIP with new eyes.
    I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!
    (btw, i say stoked all the time- i had no clue it was an aussie thing!)
    :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

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  8. I'm so happy for you. It takes me about three months to write a book too. I usually wait a couple of months and start another project while I let my beta reader review my chapters. But, two weeks is fine.

    COngrats again.

    CD

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  9. Aspiring, two weeks is a short time, but I'm eager to finish the whole process. I'll know once the break time is up whether or not I'll need more time.

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  10. Clarissa, I'm a messy first draft writer...that's why I want to speed up the first stage for my next book. There is no chance this book is even close to beta reading. Already I know the first two chapters have to go. BAM! that's 5000 words gone. Woot.

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  11. Congratulations on finishing a first draft, Lynda. It's a big accomplishment. Dark chocolate is essential for the revision/self-editing stages of writing, but you might want to take a little longer than two weeks to let your manuscript rest. Remember, it's been through a lot.

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  12. Patricia, Yep, I'm starting to get that impression. Two weeks may be too short.

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  13. Congratulations! I think that's pretty fast for a first draft, actually. A break before revisions is definitely a good thing- editing is the hardest part!

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  14. Thanks Stephanie. I think querying is the hardest part ;)

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  15. Congratulations, Lynda! What an accomplishment. :)

    I take a little time off, but I usually can't get the story out of my head, and within a week I'm back at it. Either that, or life intervenes, and I end up taking over a month off. Like now. Which reminds me I should be writing right now. :)

    Thanks for joining my contest and following my blog!

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  16. Alison, thanks so much :) Yep, I'm having trouble not thinking about it. I've already changed the description of one of my characters. lol. Must...walk....away!

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  17. Congrats - that's fantastic! :)

    I always need to take a bit of a break between finishing the first draft and revisions just to get some perspective.

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  18. oh, congrats, on the great news. I can imagine how relaxed you feel now after you used your creative energy and now need a refill :)

    I've just finished translating a book for my publisher in under a month (it usually takes two) because we have the biggest national book fair coming up and all the publishers are releasing new books for that occasion, so I'm also wasted in the creative department right now, we should go to Hawaii to relax a bit, Lyds :)))

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  19. Talli, Thanks. Definitely a break helps with perspective :)

    Dez, wow, you have been busy!! hawaii sounds like a treat... *wistful sigh*

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  20. Congrats, Lynda. Take your break and do the Snoopy dance.

    I need a little break after I finish a draft. This is when I treat myself to a new book or dig into my TBR pile.

    I come back with a fresher perspective.

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  21. CONGRATS!!!! It's such a great feeling isn't it!!!

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  22. Breaks are important to see the trees in the forest again, so I find. I usually work on short stories and submissions on a break.

    Congrats on finishing the first draft. Wooooot!!!

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  23. breaks are important. the whole distance thing...sometimes my eyes need to readjust. I take a break after every new thing I write. I let it sit for a whole day before I even think about looking at it again for short fiction, if its longer then I take more days away sometimes months depending on my mood lol. I wish you luck in the editing process

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  24. I am just so freaking excited for you!! Can't wait to see your published bookie!!

    I would have to keep writing too. :) I have some ideas floating around. They came to me as soon as I started wondering what I would do when I finished the first draft. lol

    Congratulations!!!

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  25. Maria, snoopy dance...check! And yes, I was going to edit a short story I'd written months ago but interst I started reading Shiver. lol.

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  26. Erinn, It's an awesome feeling! Thanks :)

    M Pax, Thanks so much.

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  27. Summer, Short stories I tend to give a week before I send them out. If after a week I still like them, then they are ready to go.

    As for the book, I've already started editing in my head. I need to let it go lol.

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  28. Michelle, thanks so much :)
    New ideas are almost as exciting. They are like little gems of potential. I have a few dozen waiting for my attention. Where to start?

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  29. CONGRATULATIONS ONCE MORE! I hope you are relaxing and taking this wonderful excitement in!!!

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  30. Hehe, thanks Jen. I am relaxing. I'm currently sitting in the sun with my laptop. I'm writing blogposts and then I might do some reading and there is this story that has been nipping at my mind...

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  31. Great news! I hope that after your break, editing will go well for you. :]

    I usually take a break from writing a couple days a week, but during that time I'm still thinking about literally every aspect of my book. So I guess it's more of a break from Word than anything (unless I'm writing blog posts).

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  32. Amanda, I'm not a huge fan of editing -- thus the chocolate. So I appreciate your well wishes :)

    I think regular mini breaks is important. It keeps thing fresh.

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  34. Congrats Lynda, for finishing the first draft. I too have finished the first draft and currently am rewriting few chapters.
    Breaks are extremely important for me. The length of the breaks depend on my mood, but whichever activity I do during the breaks is related to writing: maybe I catch up with my reading, write few blog posts, send few articles to the newspapers.

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  35. Congratulations on finishing your first draft! I think taking a bit of time off before attacking editing and revisions is important. This will give your ms time to perculate in your mind...that's what the experts say anyway...

    Congrats!

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  36. Rachna, congrats :) Even during a break I too can't stop writing altogether :)

    Sharon, my ms certainly has been percolating. I can't get it out of my mind. lol.

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  37. Lynda, congratulations on finishing your draft. I don't think 3 mo is too long for 89K. You had time to deal with those doubts, work through them, and get to the end in a positive place. No? *crosses fingers* I hope those 2 weeks are good and refreshing for you.

    Breaks are good and bad for me. It depends on if it's a self-induced break or not. If it is, they're wonderfully helpful. I think everyone needs time away to get clear eyes. If I have to take a break due to other obligations, then it just makes me cranky :)

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  38. Rosie, thanks so much. And yes, battled those doubts and definitely ended in a positive place.

    I had to laugh that forced breaks made you cranky. Same here. lol.

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