Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Afterworks

Tonight I sifted through Julia Cameron's The Right to Write, another how-to skewed more toward adjusting one's writing philosophy than actual instruction (I think someone in the family passed this copy onto me.) While there were some autobiographical shock-geysers I had to dodge now and then, it wasn't uber neurotic. I actually thought it was interesting. A bit merciless at times, like a Storm Trooper's writing manual. That said, I suppose when you write for Hollywood you have to armor up daily. An excellent book for anyone who wants to write but feels "unworthy" of being a writer.

I just finished writing my fourth novel of the year, and I'm in need of something more restful and lyrical, so I'm retreating to Sage Cohen and her Writing the Life Poetic. I find I keep going back to this book as a little sanctuary where I can be one with the verse. I think poetry always has been my biggest creative retreat; the one place I can go where I don't have to be on display. I'd also like to work my way through the book again and this time do all the try this exercises.

I also have book #5 and #6 to get started, but I'm giving myself this week and the holiday weekend off to recharge and catch up on house work. I have a stack of fiction books to read, and when I get restless I have two rooms I'm reorganizing that I can work on. I don't usually take this much downtime between projects, but the last book was such an intense writing experience that I know I need a few more days to get it out of my head.

An ongoing part of the writing life is learning what works to reset/detox/restore yourself after you finish a story. I know cleaning the house sounds dull, but I like house work and the exercise helps me shake off the cobwebs. Reading fiction for pleasure helps back off the muse and the internal editor, plus it's a nice reward for crossing the novel finish line.

What do you do after the work is done and you're between stories? What do you find rejuvenates you most? Let us know in comments.

11 comments:

  1. I read.
    I read the books I avoid while I'm working because they'd probably color my writing.

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  2. Your writing schedule makes me stagger in shock and awe.

    I've been NOT sweeping under my bed since I started my current round of rewrites. The truly horrifying dust wildebeest now living there have come to represent sloth, fuzzy thinking, and other "monsters under the bed." I plan to slay them, but not until I get pictures and a decent blog post out of 'em.

    And not until I finish these rewrites.

    (My captcha is "promed." I probably do need professional medication.)

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  3. I normally read interesting, amazing novels after finishing my texts. While writing I can't read great books. And normally I also need some distance..need to go to our holidayhouse or somewhere else to clear my mind.

    Wish you nice holidays!

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  4. Wow, your schedule always amazes me! To recharge, I read, trying to catch up on all the great books that came out while I was working. As long as my eyes hold up, I also love to play hidden object games and cross stitch. I have two BAP (big ass projects) I'm working on at the same time. At this rate, I might finish them in the nursing home.

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  5. This is going to sound weird.

    In between writing novels, I recharge by writing short stories. I don't know why more writing recharges me for more writing, but it does. Probably because novels and short stories are so different.

    I often sell the short stories I write, so maybe the quick validation recharges me too.

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  6. Art and sewing rejuvenate me, and I get listless when I don't have time for either. Piano helps, too, but I haven't sat down for a single song in more than a week. Not good.

    Housework doesn't do it, but I tend to have to do that, mainly because I don't have a maid to do it for me, and it's neglected when I'm on a creative roll. With the move to Georgia, I've had six months of painting walls, tiling backsplashes, and decorating a bunch of new rooms.

    I'm sewing today, though. All day. Hopefully it will turn out both productive and restful. I hope your weekend gives you the perfect break, so that you can start back in with gusto.

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  7. I go back to poetry; to reading it and to writing it. Poetry is the smallest unit of written storytelling for me--a tiny narrative that can be completed in one sitting and then exists as a fixed moment in time.

    Also, I'm a big fan of Sage Cohen. Not only is her "Writing the Life Poetic" one of my goto resources, she's a totally gracious lady.

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  8. I HAVE to read. As soon as I finish writing, I pick up three books: one fiction, one nonfiction and one YA fiction, to read full though before starting a new manuscript.

    Into order to put words on page, you first have to understand how they are meant to look. How others use them on a page and decide what you'd do differently or what works. It's just part of the process, at least for me.

    Musicians listen to other musicians.
    Poets go to poetry slams.
    This is my craft and I get better at it with exposure to others. I may not always agree with what they've done, but it's more important that I understand how and why they did it.

    Plus, it's fun, yo!

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  9. Having just published my first novel, I'm grateful to have it out of the way so it's no longer a distraction. At the moment, it's rejuvenating just to be able to concentrate on the next one without thinking about hunting down typos or correcting formatting errors. I read constantly (partly as procrastination), and I think that helps keeps me charged up.

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  10. I have two poetry ebooks so if you want to read them, let me know and I'll give you a smashwords coupon.

    I have a few things I do when I need to get a recharge after working hard - travel or take a walk, watch some Netflix TV shows (I am really interested in the paranormal right now), or I read for enjoyment. I found a writer I haven't met before Zandri and am reading his Concrete Pearl. It's a hard-boiled detective type story.

    I take a nap.

    Yours, Cyn scrambledsage.blogspot.com

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  11. I like to red and hang with friends, have a social life...bar-b-que and play baseball or something. When I'm starting to gear up for a new project, to get back to work again, I clean like a maniac. Love to sit at a clean desk in a clean workspace and start a new journey.

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