Continuing our Writer Spotlight series, we’re delighted to host an article by Sarah Baethge.
Writer Spotlight is an opportunity for our members to draw attention to their iWRR ebook as well as to them as a writer, their style and interests. We’re not looking for anything in particular – so feel free to let your creativity loose!
The Importance of Downtime
by Sarah Baethge
A couple of years ago, I decided to force myself to continue writing until I actually finished astory of fitting length to stand on its own as a book. I have written many unpublished short stories that the people I show them to seem to like, but the writing always seems to come to a sputtering halt if I stick to the same idea for too long. Not this time, I decided as I looked at my notes for what would eventually become The Speed of Darkness, I am not going to let myself do anything else until this is finished.
Quickly, I discovered that doing such a thing is a sure way to drive yourself insane.
Perhaps it’s just the fact that the characters I had trapped myself with included werewolves and mad scientists; but in no time at all I found myself looking at everything in the real world through the eyes of my story. As I was always thinking about it, I trapped myself into a never-ending game of ‘what happens next?’
My notes just kept growing, incorporating new ideas and real happenings. Eventually, I think I had plans for a story three times the length of what it is now, but to get it all too work; I had to change what was already written. Let me tell you that was no fun. Changing what I loved so it could lead into situations I didn’t find as strong or ‘believable’ eventually annoyed me into abandoning the whole project for a week or more.
I did come back to it, figured it would e a shame to just give up on what I had already worked so hard at. Discarded most of the new parts of my notes, looked over what I had already written and determined to finish the story as far as I originally planned. This was not going to get the better of me. I may not ever publish it, but I would at least finish it.
When the constant work was starting to set me off again, instead of retooling my story, I decided to just set it aside for a little while. You can say what you want about internet games, but a little time playing games suddenly became my sanity. Not just videogames, I found that if I made myself do something where I was too busy to think about the fantasy world of my story, I could calm down enough to almost look at my writings as an outsider, and wasn’t forever looking for ways tochange what was said as I wanted to say it.
So over the next month or so I finished the story. I made a point of taking some time where Iwasn’t writing every day. Not wanting to drive myself crazy with it any more, after I was done; I just filed it in a folder of items I have abandoned and don’t plan to work on anymore (I remember reading somewhere that you should never throw away what you have written, and I have gone to look at this folder a time or two to rescue old work; so it’s good advice.)
When I pulled my The Speed of Darkness files out a couple days ago to look at again, I still liked the story after two years and that time away from it has given me the courage to throw it at the world. Even if you never plan on reading it, I hope my experience writing it will come to your benefit. Although, now that you’ve taken the time to read this; perhaps it’s cleared your own mind so you can get back to the story that you were working on.
Connect with Sarah directly here: Twitter
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