Taking some downtime is necessary.
But if you're anything like me, it's hard to do.
|Photo Courtesy Ron St. Amant|
Last week, I finished a major editing pass on my next book and shipped it off to my trusty beta readers. For the next month, I'll be living in no-man's land as I wait to get it back so I can go through it again and prep it to go to my editor. Usually, I have more than one project going for just this thing, but as I finished my book on Thursday last week, I realized I had nothing truly active, or even really urgent. Friday dawned, and it was nice not to feel any pressure to sit down and edit...but by the time Saturday arrived, I could feel my anxiety level rising without a reason to sit down and work on a book.
Don't get me wrong, I like not having anything pressing. I cleaned out my closet on Friday, and being a homeschool mom, I know I'll be more focused on finishing up my daughter's school year over the next couple weeks than I have been pretty much all the rest of the school year.
But, it feels like something is missing.
In the interest of curiosity, I decided to ask some other writers and authors what they did when they're between drafts. Here's some of their answers:
- My most prolific writers immediately begin drafting the next book.
- Plotting the next book, even if it's only in meditation.
- I have four current works in progress, so when I run out of things to do on one of them I just move straight to the next one that needs things done...
- I read a lot. A LOT. And sometimes I'll take the time to enjoy something sensory, like a new cooking technique or type of exercise. But also, I have multiple projects going, so I just go to another one.
- I read other books and begin writing the next book. I usually have at least 3 writing projects going on (all at different stages) so it's not too hard to find something else to occupy my time.
- At the very first, I intentionally detox and relax, usually by some combination of tv and reading and maybe a couple beers. I then start brainstorming on either my next project, thinking about marketing the existing project, or switch to another project if several are active.
- Well, I have at least three writing projects going right now, and two part-time day jobs, so...
- Reading and writing the next thing.
- It entirely depends on what I've got going on. This time around, I finished two manuscripts very close together, so I sent them off for editing and beta-reading, and have been spending the waiting time editing and critiquing for other authors. Sometimes I take that time and read more. Sometimes I work on another project. Or I switch to working on my visual art.
- ...There's an in-between stage?
- I always have a million story ideas, so if I need a break from a series book, I start brainstorming/drafting one of my standalone books. I pretty much always have several stories all in the editing, drafting, and brainstorming phases, so I always have something to work on.
- Vegetate. :p
For now, I think I'll be working on light pre-planning on the next book.
And maybe cleaning my house, which always gets to be a bit of a disaster when I'm in the final weeks of any stage of the process. And maybe read a bit more than I have been in the last few months.
What say you: Do you take any hiatus after finishing a major round on your books? If so, what do you do in that time?