Everyone has a creative process they use to complete their artistic projects. I’ve honed mine to a comfortable routine. Everything starts with a wonderful spark of an idea. I grab that spark, bounce it around in my brain for a while before finally writing it down. I’ve got files full of Sparkies waiting for attention. Work on the idea doesn’t begin in earnest until after I’ve made the multi-year commitment to the story.
My new year has started in an on again/off again relationship with the epic dark fantasy series, Heart of the Warrior. I put the series up on blocks six years ago while I pursued other stories. Bad advice and novice skills made Book One unsellable. Crushed, I walked away. BUT here I come again like that cheatin’ cowboy in a Dolly Parton song. The series is back on in a big way.
While I’m excited to be working on my long lost love, I’m in the heavy lifting editing stage. Ugh. It seems like I’ve just finished final edits on my Urban Fantasy, Pariah. What happened to the fun part of taking a fresh idea and playing with it until I form a new story? Not going to happen this time around.
How do I plan to keep plodding along on my current work in progress (WIP) without burning out? I rely on a few techniques to keep the old brain fresh. The first (and simplest) – I take a break for a few days. Pencils down. It’s a wonderful opportunity to read someone else’s book as well. Second – I reach a good stopping point with the WIP and work on something else for a while. This comes in handy when you’ve committed to write more than one book at a time.
Burnout can ruin your day/life. If you feel its fingers wrapping around your throat, don’t feel guilty about taking some time off. Writing is supposed to be a fun journey, not a chore (though I’ll argue this point when it comes to editing). Enjoy the ride and take time to savor the experience.