Tuesday, October 18, 2011

That 'In Between' Time

There comes a time in every writer's life when they are 'in between' projects. Okay, not if you're Nora Roberts who's like a writing machine but I'm talking about regular Joe Blow writers like, well, moi. It's the time where one project is done and out the door but the next project is not quite coalesced in your head so it is a time for peering up from the paper/computer and blinking in fascinating wonder at the world around you and saying: Whoa. It's Fall?? When did my kids get bigger than me? Yikes. Look at that laundry. I think a new life form is growing under those towels there.

Used to be I'd finish that one project and almost immediately start another one. But whether it's a result of less pure in-between time (working on edits or various other things for the book that's coming or already out there, blogging, facebook, twitter, etc makes for less empty time) or maybe it's because I'm getting really picky about what ideas I'll develop (damn that 'marketability is important' voice in my head!) or maybe it's just knowing how much time writing a book takes and I'm putting it off, whatever it is, now I really treasure the in between time. It's a time to recharge and do something with my time besides writing. Oh wow, did I start that cross-stitch Santa stocking for The Boy ten years ago?? Um, maybe I should work on that a little. Whoa, when's the last time I shopped for clothes? Oh, dear, winter is coming and I need boots!!! And there is that little thing called the reno. Hmm, eventually the house will be done and it will need furniture. Need to start looking now...

So my in between time is already filling up. But notice that it has nothing to do with words. Doing all that other 'stuff' that's not writing really makes me appreciate the time when I dive back into the words. I will have missed them terribly by then and, like coming home after a long vacation, I sigh with pleasure as I sink back into my familiar, comfortable, always untidy, house.

How about you? Do you take that in between time to do different things and what are they? Or are you a back to back writer who can't let the words alone for too long else you go crazy?


  1. I do think it's important to use that between time to refuel and give your body and brain a break. But if that between time ends and I still can't pin down the right story, I start to get antsy! Basically, I don't like the inbetween time and do everything possible so I know what I'm working on next. It just doesn't always work out. :)

  2. Hey, Laura! Absolutely, too much in between time can lead to pure agony. If I don't get a firm idea for the next project by Christmas I'll be panicking!

  3. I love a break--but I absolutely HATE it when so much is on my plate that I can't get back to my writing. I start going crazy. My moods actually start resembling the stages of grief (denial, etc.), but in not too long at all I have to shove the housework and other obligations aside and get back to writing.

  4. Hmm. I haven't been between books in a pretty long while. Guess that's a drawback of starting a series -- you always know which book you'll be writing next. But I do try squeeze "recharging time" into my daily routine.

  5. I admire those who jump right to the next book. I couldn’t do it. But then, some read a few books at one time, and some (gulp) WRITE more than one at a time.

  6. Hi Shakespeare: Yes, too long a break is definitely not good for the writer's soul!

    Hi Linda: I've always wondered how a series writer handles the never ending book train. Hope your daily breaks give you the recharging time you need!

    Hi Mirka: Tried writing more than one at a time and it's totally not for me either! I'm a one book at a time writer!