Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Just wait five minutes


They have a saying where I live, "If you don't like the weather wait five minutes."

Last Wednesday my soccer game began with a bright sunny sky and a slight breeze (just enough to keep the mosquitos away). Then the wind started blowing and our bright sky became menacing black clouds. Right before half it started to pour. I'm talking, I have to wipe the water out of my eyes so I can see. My bra and underwear were both soaked. Next came the lightening, followed by the thunder. They decided to suspend the game until the weather cleared.

The other team ran to their cars, but my team huddled under a tarp in the middle of the field.(Yeah I know, in hindsight, not too smart). While under the tarp, the rain turned to hail, and then to our surprise just when we thought the sun was going to come out again, we saw funnel clouds to the west of us. A tornado was forming and being the novice tornado people that we are, we stood there and watched.

Eventually the clouds disappeared, the sun came out, and we were all ready to play, except our time had expired and the next two teams were waiting to play.

Just to be clear on the time line, all those weather changes happened in 30 minutes and a tornado did touch down just west of us.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, if you don't like what you wrote, step back and wait then try again and you might just have a completely different perspective, but don't wait too long or you might find yourself out of the game (so to speak).

Question: Does time away from your project make you like it more? And do you think that it's possible to take too much time away from a project?

18 comments:

Ruth Josse said...

Time away definitely helps me. When you get too close to the story, it's hard to see the big picture and you forget what you love about it.

It's like when my husband is off work for a week and I'm kind of glad when he goes back again. ;)

Laura Pauling said...

Wow - what an experience. I think if you're still in the middle of writing the first draft then too much time away can just make it harder to get back into it. But I don't think too much time away hurts between edits. I think it's helpful to gain objectivity.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

You are so right on with this. I have times when I sit down and read more words where I could throw up and other times where I'm nodding thinking, "I'm good." ;)

Hey, were you bummed about the game? My sister was a serious soccer player and it rattled her.

~ Wendy

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I got caught in the storm, too. Fortunately by the time I left the RWA meeting, it had past.

I find distance helps. But if I'm not in love with the project, it's easy to walk away with too much distance. And maybe that's a sign that it's time to move on.

Heidi Willis said...

LOL! I just love your life/writing comparisons! You are the best at it!!

The writing book I read says to take at least a week but not more than a month. I'd say that's about right for me. I know lots of people thrive on that time away to let the work bubble in their brains, but if I wait more than a week or so, I find myself losing interest. Or deciding I'm not good enough to write anything.

Time away doesn't make me love it more. I only love it when I'm in the middle of it. At least, that's how it feels now. :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I try not to take too much time away from a book. Especially right before I edit and revise. I do take a few weeks off, but no more than that. I don't want to forget my characters. Especially if I'm working on something else. You know?

The Happy Whisk said...

Hi Patti. Thanks for coming by this morning. Was great to see you again. Yes, those containers are kick-ass good for carcass broth. No freezer burn and the frozen broth pops right out. Love that.

As for writing, I generally have five scheduled writing sessions per week, and take the weekends off.

Been that way a long time. Love it.

Time for lunch. Have a yummy day!

Jolene Perry said...

It all depends on the project. Sometimes setting it aside makes me lose steam, and sometimes it's exactly what I need. It all depends...

Kasie West said...

Wow! That sounds like an exciting soccer match. Crazy. Sometimes time away from my writing makes me like it more and sometimes the opposite. That's why a step back is good. :) Great analogy.

Ishta Mercurio said...

I take time away from my projects a lot. It helps me get "unstuck". But I have taken so much time away, that I forgot about a project! But then again, those projects were probably not as good to begin with - too overdone, not fresh, or something.

That's some exciting weather you're having there! All we've got is heat and humidity. They keep promising rain, but it never comes.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Crazy!
And as to your question, taking time away from my work is a bad idea, at least while i'm still writing it (revisions are a different animal) and yes i do think you can take too much time away. For me, if i don't get that first draft out as fast as possible once i start to write it, i won't ever get it done

Abby said...

Hi. I saw you from Chantele's blog.
That is a great analogy. My family is a bunch of soccer lovers too. I definitely think some time away from a piece can be helpful. Gives you time to clear your mind and see it with fresh eyes. However, too much time away is probably not a good thing.

ali said...

Wow, what a great analogy! I totally agree, 100%.

I do like my stories better after a break. And no, I don't think it's possible to wait too long. HOWEVER, I do think it's possible to miss your chance. I think when the story comes back in your thoughts and calls to be worked on, you'd better get to it as soon as you can!

Angela Felsted said...

Good advice, Patti, as always. You have such perspective. :D

Carol Riggs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Riggs said...

Ha, yes, in Oregon that is especially true about the weather. Good analogy comparing it to having a different perspective in writing. I'm not sure if a writer can take "too much" time away from a project--but I sure get anxious if I am away from a work-in-progress for very long. Sometimes I think it's easy to lose the initial drive and inspiration if you're not careful.

Happy Thursday!

Misha said...

Well, it's a fine cut thing, it's good sometimes to step back and come back to it later. But not too late. As Carol says, there can be too much time away. And although I might still love the idea, I will have broken the bond with my story. And then I have to actually built it up again from scratch.

:-)

Natalie said...

This is so true! I need s little break from a manuscript so I can look at it objectively, but if I'm away more than a few months I forget why I liked the idea in the first place.