Back to Work!: Picking Up After a Break

I have heard of writers out there who can pound out hundreds of pages of manuscript in a matter of hours. I’ve also heard of writers who can stop in mid-sentence, leave the room, and then come back and still know just what that sentence was going to say. I’ve heard of authors going on hiatus for years, them coming back, plopping down, and turning out works of literary art.

The show offs.

I cannot spend the whole day writing. As much as  I love it, it just never happens. I cannot stop writing in mid-sentence and then come back to it without having to  sit and try to remember just where I was going with it (which usually ends with me deleting the whole thing and starting over). And while I know I write well, I would seriously hesitate to call any of my writing works of art. They’re close, though.

After taking a week off from my writing in order to entertain family camped out at my house (literally. A trailer and tent were in use for their visit. That does not say anything about my hospitality, only the size of my house) I come back to writing with that blank feel of…

Where was I?

A week isn’t all that long, really. I’ve taken months off in the past, and been able to jump (or wade) right back into the rhythm of the story. But seven days of not-writing have taken their toll. I visited Mt. Rainier and have a deep urge to leave outer-space (where I have been cooped for the last couple of years) and write something that deals with terrain that is not gray and made of metal. I toured the Museum of Flight and had vague urges to add fighter-pilots to my cast (There Is No Room In The Plot! I remind myself frantically). And I spent evenings playing Scrabble and revisiting Harry Potter and once again think that magic is cool, although the cumbersome weight of The Goblet of Fire is giving me carpel tunnel, and I still have 3 more books to go.

Now I’m back in the writing water, looking for my PFD, and nursing my aching wrist (thanks a lot, J.K. Rowling). I’m not absolutely certain that I know where I was going with my manuscript, but I’ll start writing all the same until I remember. I can always fix it later after all…

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kirsten Lopresti
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 21:49:11

    I’ve heard those people exist, too. I don’t know how they do it either! Congratulations on getting back to work! I sometimes think it’s easier to work if I’ve had a week off from it, but I agree with you about interruptions. It’s hard for me to get back to work after I’ve been interrupted.


  2. Haley Whitehall (@HaleyWhitehall)
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 04:53:30

    Jennifer, I loved this post. It is so realistic!

    I can spend all day writing if the inspiration strikes but more often than not that doesn’t happen. I encourage you to take a break from outer space and recharge your creativity with another story. Try some flash fiction perhaps? That is what works for me. I end up missing the characters I’ve built such a strong relationship to and plunge back into my manuscript.


    • Jennifer Mandelas
      Aug 10, 2011 @ 22:53:26

      I have a notebook where I jot down thoughts for other stories. Sometimes I’ll do that for a whole day, or I’ll completely switch gears and go on a movie marathon or watch an entire series of anime. It’s a nice break, and it’s a fun way to find new inspiration. But I owe it to my peeps to get them out of the sticky situations I keep leaving them in!


  3. Deloris
    Nov 22, 2012 @ 18:35:40

    First of all it says what most movie industry insiders know.
    Among some of the choice responses:. Tremedous feats of bravery, heart-pounding Quidditch
    matches, soul-sucking dementors, back stabbing-murder, triumph, disappointment, plot turns
    around every corner.


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