Monday, August 15, 2011
Vacation, All I Ever Wanted
I finished the first draft of my WIP last week.
Uh-huh. It's done. My story has an official beginning, middle, and end, with lots of crazy character arcs and way too many subplots. So, don’t get too excited for me, peeps. It’s rough. And by rough, I mean sandpaper, Brillo Pad ROUGH. Scraggy, craggy, and beyond jagged. I need to replot the darn thing (again), cut a, um…lot of words, and kill entire scenes. But, I see glints of a diamond in that rough somewhere. I do. I really do.
And I want to find it RIGHT NOW.
As soon as I finished last Tuesday, I wanted to dive right into revisions. Rewrite the four scenes leading up to the ending. Fix my beat sheet, kill off some darlin’s and add stuff I know needs to be in there.
But I resisted the temptation to boot up my netbook. Why?
Because I need a vacation from my baby.
It’s all I wanted, really. All I could think about for three weeks was how close I was to finishing. And how much I wanted to finish, just so it would be done. I saw a glimmer of light, then a profound ray, then WHAM—I was on the other side of the tunnel. I was done. And I could take a break.
But do I ever really separate myself from my work? Am I ever truly on vacation?
Physically, yes. Mentally, not so much.
Since I wrote The End and shut down the netbook, I've plotted the demise of a character, made life more heart-wrenching for another. I've been hit with new ideas for scenes I've not physically penned and mentally sing (trust me, you don't want me to do this aloud) every song from my WIP's playlist. Quotes and new bits of dialogue zap me while I'm driving. While I'm sleeping. And with the onset of football (a major plot point in my story), I don't know that my brain will ever really take a vacation.
But that's okay. Because it's not really me working.
It's my subconscious.
This is how I used to be with my day job. From the middle of August to the middle of June, I’m immersed in school—teaching math by day, tutoring in the afternoons. Sometimes it’s exhilarating; other times, frustrating. And in May, as close as the end is, those last few weeks are tortuous and tiring. I’m sick of the job. I’m sick of my kids. And June 10 can never get here fast enough. Vacation is all I ever wanted.
And then it happens. I try to relax, but I can’t stop thinking about school. I miss my colleagues. I want to sign up for a katrillion workshops. I wonder what my kids are up to. New ideas for activities, games and projects hit me at all hours of the day. And night. I even dream about my classroom. Several times.
But that’s my subconscious at work. It’s over the summer that some of my best ideas take form, I reflect on what worked and what didn't, and I get excited about seeing my babies again.
And for similar reasons, I need time away from my WIP so that Mr. Subconscious can kick into high gear.
Furloughs from the WIP are an essential part of the process—a chance to let your brain breathe. They're an opportunity for reflection, employment for your all too willing subconscious. And a way to get rejuvenated about your story and your babies.
So, I’m taking a vacation…for a little while. I’m reading (A LOT), catching up on critiques, playing with my blog, and attending a writer's conference. Maybe I’ll write a flash fiction or two. And when my subconscious has a zapifining moment, I’ll jot that little thought on a post-it and stick it in my handy-dandy WIP folder.
And when the vacation’s over, I’ll dive heart-first into my WIP, exhilarated, rejuvenated, ready to enrich my script. I’ll replot, connect the dots on character bubble maps, and cut cringe-worthy scenes. My diamond’s in that rough somewhere, and I'll find it. I will, I will.
So, yes! Bring on the vacay. Let me bask in some R&R—Reflection and Rejuvenation.
And let me subconsciously dig for that diamond in the rough.
How about you? Anything YOU need to break from today?