On February 11, I finished the draft I had been working on for over eighteen months. (Okay, I actually finished it on February 10, but I have this thing about finishing drafts on my birthday if at all possible, so I dragged it out for an extra day. Happy birthday to me!) For a year and half I had been immersed in the world of the story, a world of magic and romance and cold iron. And now, hard as it is, I know the best thing I can do for the story is to walk away from it for at least six months.
Part of the reason I had been pushing to finish it was that I was scheduled to start an edit of another book and I wanted to make sure I would be mentally ready to jump into that. But life has intervened, and that edit has been pushed back (though I expect it will start any day now), so I have been in a weird, in-between place.
Mind you, there’s still plenty to fill my time. I still don’t quite understand how, no matter how many items I check off my to-do list, they still multiply like stink bugs. (I was going to say rabbits or dandelions, but those are both way too pleasant images. Stink bugs capture my feelings on the subject much better.) I’ve been getting lots of things done that I’ve been putting off for awhile, working on projects for Deaf Camps, Inc., the nonprofit I am passionately committed to, and finally justifying my nonfiction co-author’s faith in me by finishing up the proposal I’d been putting off. And oh, how I love having time to catch up on all the books that have been sitting on my bedside table for months.
But I have to admit I feel a little adrift without a writing project to anchor me. I know that some writers can bounce between projects easily, and maybe I should be able to do that, but the thing is, I don’t want to. I love getting wrapped up in a novel I am writing, setting aside hours at a time so I can really dig into the story instead of writing it in bits and pieces. Even then, when you can give yourself over to that world for awhile each day, writing is hard, sometimes downright painful. Why would I want to do it in a way that made it less enjoyable? What would be the point?
But the downside is the In-Between Place.