I haven’t written a word of fiction in a week – a whole week! – and damn, it feels weird. I’ve been working almost non-stop on my novel since August 7th, 2008 (yes, I remember the date exactly), with only a day or two off since then. Normally, I work seven days a week, for four to eight hours a day. Now, it’s not always all writing – researching and restructuring are part of the process, too – but I’m starting to feel out of sorts because I haven’t even looked at my novel for an entire week. And I won’t be looking at it until I get home on Sunday.
I knew better this time around than to try and write while in here in Toronto. During my last visit home, I tried to write in between family and other social functions, and ended up scrapping everything once I got back to Seattle because everything I’d written in Toronto totally sucked ass.
I’m not one of those writers who can work anywhere. I could never sit and write at Starbucks. I don’t scribble things down on paper napkins during bursts of inspiration. And I can’t write if there are other people milling around. Once, on a flight to Cancun, I did manage to write a whole chapter, but I was very, very self-conscious because the old dude sitting beside me kept peering at my computer screen. I was a writing a sex scene and when I finished (quite proud of myself), I glanced over at him and our eyes met. He turned maroon. Ha! That’s what you get, Mr. Nosy. But ultimately, that scene got scrapped when I got home a week later and read it – it was not my best work. I’d whispered the sex scene when I should have been shouting it from the rooftops.
To write fiction well, I need complete and utter privacy. Which is why everything on my computer is password protected. It’s not that I don’t trust Steve – he’d never go into my computer for any reason – but knowing that no other eyes will see my work until I say so makes me feel uninhibited. And when I feel uninhibited, I write better. It’s like singing when you think nobody’s listening – unless you’re a professional, most of us sound better when nobody else is around and we can belt out a cheesy 80’s tune to our heart’s content.
I won’t have any privacy until Sunday. That’s six days away. But you know what? There’s definitely something to be said for absence making the heart grow fonder, because after a week off from writing, I’m really missing it. And by this weekend, I’ll be aching for it. That’s a good thing. I needed this break to get my mojo back. I was getting sick of my story.
For the next little while, though, I’m going to enjoy the peace and quiet. My characters are sleeping. I’d better make the most of it before they wake back up and resume their place in the part of my brain that can’t stop obsessing about them.
I am on vacation.