In a notebook I bought and decorated with my daughters using supplies from the dollar store, I decided I'd fit a novel into those pages.
Last autumn, while in the hospital for overnight testing, I wrote a short story for a magazine about a style of "earth-boarding" used to escape giant man-eating spiders. I know, I know, it sounds campy. It is, it totally is.
But it was fun to write at the moment when I NEEDED a break. I wanted to take some of the ideas and the universe built into that short and turn in into a small novel, and I planned to do that over our Summer break.
The process of writing a short story is like serving a cake pop. It has to be this amazing short version of the entire dessert you made because that's all the reader sees. It doesn't mean the world around it (the cake, the icing) doesn't exist, it's just that you presented a smaller version.
It's easier to work backward and recreate that iced cake in its full version if you've already cake-popped the damn thing so in a way this is still a break for me (while enforcing some daily work routines that I can use once my youngest enters her first school year). This approach is sometimes recommended for writers who feel stuck.
That's definitely me. I have two larger projects and one small that need my attention. But I needed something easier while taking care of my kids while they are off on break, and to be honest, I just wanted something so weird to work on that I wasn't afraid to screw it up or fail. It's already weird, it's going to get weirder, it will probably stay at the bottom of some dark bizarre fiction category and I'm 100% cool with that right now.
The other step I have taken is to join our local writer group.
I haven't always had the best experiences with them, but this has been wonderful and supportive and diverse-all the things needed for a functioning group. Most of all, it gives me an hour and a half that is just mine. It's not something I have had in years (unless you count sitting in a college lecture, and I don't). And it's just focused on books and getting things written and talking about our experiences in the publishing industry. I've learned a lot from everyone so far, and I hope our group continues to find local writers to join and grow into something larger and able to reach out into the community we have here in our little cities surrounding Houston.
I can only hope that choosing something different to work on and easier to finish will be more of what I need.
credit to the photographer for the original image-Marisa Morton