Saturday, February 4, 2012

Switching Gears

This was a pretty crazy week. I was in the thick of writing my new work-in-progress and the words were flowing fast and furious, the momentum building, and then, mid-sentence, I got a phone call from my mother that my Aunt had passed away. It was unexpected, she was only 66, and suddenly my parents had more than they could handle to deal with alone. I shelved the book and in less than 24 hours found myself on a plane to New York City to help them take care of things. Not quite the trip to New York City I'd been planning and imagining for so long - the one where I finally get to meet my agent and have lunch with my future editor and explore the city. Instead, I got a close up look at the little things we miss when we immerse ourselves in our work "too much." Simply, life. What goes on around us while we are in our writing cave, busily immersed in a world other than our own, hoping to remain undisturbed to crank out our story.

I realized, as I sat on that plane, how little time of late I've actually spent with my parents, because I've been so consumed with writing and querying and savoring every precious minute my kids are gone to get that writing done. I realized, as I walked around that amazing city, how infrequently I actually get outside and breathe and take in the sights and sounds of all that is around me, and shake up my daily experiences. And I was reminded, yet again, of the fragile and temporary nature of our human relationships, and how moments of sadness can draw us close together and remind us of what is really important.

Upon returning from New York, I tried to re-hone my focus to dive back into my new book, but then word came from my agent that he wanted me to make a few revisions we had discussed before sending BAND GEEK out to some editors. Now, not only had I let go of this other book while fully immersed in it, but I was being asked to slip back into the skin of characters I'd already let go of. They talked different, they lived in a different world, they were funny and snarky and my new characters were much more intense and serious and dealing with big issues.

Turns out, this was a gift. Having been away from BAND GEEK allowed me to attack it with fresh eyes, and finding my voice and my footing turned out to be no problem once I got started. In fact, it was as comfortable as putting on your favorite pair of sweats after a long day. It was actually a much-needed break from the intensity of the other project, and yet another chance from the universe to make BAND GEEK as perfect as it can be, working with various feedback I've gotten along the way. In turn, it will ultimately give me distance from my current project that will allow me to return to it with a mind blazing full of ideas.

Life demands that we be flexible and roll with the tide daily. Instead of looking at scenarios where you can't write as unfortunate, look at them as the gifts they are - allowing you distance that can in turn offer greater insight and perspective. What you see when you read your work after two months apart will be hugely different than just a week later. And as much as it feels like the pressure is on to write, write, write or you are wasting time, take a page from Ferris Bueller - "Life's short. If you don't look around once in a while you might miss it."

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