Here’s the secret about writing (drum roll), it’s all about the rewriting and reading and then the re-re-rewriting. TIME is a big ingredient in the creative recipe.
In his book about writing ‘On Writing’ Stephen King describes leaving manuscripts in a drawer for six months before going back to them. I think most writers have a variation on that theme. Maybe it’s not six entire months, but there are natural breaks that enable you to get distance. These breaks are an essential part of writing. A little time in cold storage goes a long way!
I’m in the process of reworking ‘Bram Stoker’s Summer Sublet,’ with the goal of e-publishing it by the end of June. As the story takes place during a typically hot and sticky July in New York, I want it available to readers by July1. The hot and sticky season in New York is a good time to kick back with a cool drink and a distracting story. Getting it done on schedule is a big challenge.
The book started a long time ago in another incarnation and with another title. It’s tighter and, I think, much funnier, with more allusions to the literary inspirations that got me started on this path in the first place. I’ve also learned that taking breaks from the process of rewriting the novella is important. What do I do during these breaks? WRITE.
I’ve been writing short stories. I’ve found that while delving into the next Monster novella is too distracting, short tales take me out of my ‘Bram Stoker’ space and enhance the process. I’ve always written short stories, but this is the first time I’ve craved writing them as a way to travel from my primary project. It’s like taking a trip and returning home, renewed and ready to work. Maybe it can be compared to runners who swim for a few weeks. You’re still exercising your muscles, but in a different way.
I’m curious about the positive distractions of other writers. Any thoughts you’d like to share?