That's largely what the art I've been doing over the past few weeks was all about; relaxing my brain. As a writer, you'd think that I would find writing relaxing, that I would find my solace from the world into escaping into the worlds that I create. I suppose that's partly true; certainly, if I stray away from writing too long, I get really antsy to get back to it. But in truth, I don't think that any career (or hobby, or anything else) should dominate one's entire life, or all of one's leisure time. That seems to be the impression that a lot of writers give on the Internet: that to be a successful writer, you must let writing consume virtually your entire life.
I posit that this is not true. Certainly, you must be prepared to let writing consume virtually your entire life on occasion--say, during revisions, or at the end of the novel when things are really flowing fast or a deadline is looming. That seems quite reasonable to me. However, keeping that mad pace (or anything close to it) up at all times seems to me to be, well -- mad. As writers it is expected that we have stories to tell, things to write about. In order for that to be true, I should think it an obvious corollary that writers must thus have lives of their own; after all, if most of their life experience comes from reading and writing alone, they aren't likely to produce much that is startlingly original.
Perhaps some of you will read this as a long-winded excuse for the fact that I have not written anything new for about two weeks now. Feel that way if you must, but someday I hope you'll find that you are able to take long breaks of your own. It will do you good, in any endeavor; any ruts you were in before the break, you'll tend to break out of. I've also been doing a lot more reading over the past few weeks, since I haven't been so busy writing. Harry Potter has been the order of the day for most of this time, as I'm rereading years four through six in preparation for the fairly imminent release of the closing seventh book. Despite the differences that some take with her style, I must say that J.K. Rowling really is an incredible writer and storyteller. You might not think that there's much I can learn from Harry Potter for a broken-earth zombie novel, but there certainly is . . . .
At any rate, before my life-imposed writing hiatus, I had had a number of breakthroughs on my manuscript. Aside from greatly expanding my second chapter, I've also now greatly expanded my first. The new opening that I have provides a little more depth, and is significantly less teaser-ish. I'm very excited about it. At some point in the next month or so I'll post the new versions of both chapters on my website, but I'm going to wait until after I've let them sit a bit longer, and until I've had a chance to get a bit more outside editorial feedback.
I've also made it about two thirds of the way through chapter 10, so that's some progress there. The planning and writing of the first chapter additions was a major hangup for me for a couple of weeks, so that really stunted my other progress as I wrote three different new openings before I found one that I liked at all (and that one I loved). I've had about enough editing for at least a few weeks, at any rate, so this week I'm going to get back in the saddle and write some new content--finish off chapter 10 for sure, and hopefully get a good ways into chapter 11.
So that's the news from my part of the world; I apologize for not responding to comments as much as I normally would have lately, and for not posting comments on everyone else's blogs. It's just too time consuming at the moment. I am still reading all my regular blogs, however, and I've been enjoying hearing how all of you are getting along (quite well for the most part--bravo!). Until next time . . .
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