Monday, October 20, 2008

Absence

Posted by Lisa Marnell

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Perhaps the other old adage is true as well: Out of Sight, Out of Mind. After being away visiting family in Montreal, I must admit that I've come to the conclusion that both of these sayings are wise.

You see, I decided to leave my WIP behind when I went away. For a full eight days I didn't read or write a word of my manuscript. This may not seem like a long time to some writers, but I check in with my main character nearly every day, writing as little as a paragraph or reading a scene.

Of course, common advice is to let your manuscript rest. To take a break from it so you can try to come back and see it with new eyes, a fresh perspective. I can't say I've ever done this. I decided to give it a try.

On the flight back to California, I took out a journal and opened it to a blank page. And I thought.

At first I thought about my ending. Next, I thought about my theme. The notes I scribbled over the course of half and hour, were barely legible, full of criticism. I must, I decided, raise the stakes, write a novel that's more "edgy". Then, as I reached the end of that journal page, scattered with inspired chicken scratches, I came to a realization.

I like my story.

It's that simple. I felt relieved and happy. Is that how writing is supposed to make us feel?