To the casual observer, it would appear that I’ve been enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon, sitting on my couch playing Candy Crush. They would be right about the couch and the gaming, but they would be entirely wrong about the “lazy” bit. You see, I’m working on revising a manuscript (hereafter MS2) that’s a sequel to another manuscript (hereafter MS1) that’s changed drastically since I last touched MS2.
It’s a beast to revise, requiring an entirely new beginning, a lot of restructuring, adding scenes and characters, and figuring out what needs to be removed entirely. Motivations have changed, locations are different, and there are a million details that have to be tweaked to line up with MS1. I’ve rewritten the beginning two chapters twice now, and they’re definitely much improved! But as I finished rewriting chapter three last night, I stopped dead in my tracks, unhappy with the timeline and various other aspects. I walked away, let it simmer. I do that sometimes…just let the manuscript rest while I think about how to move forward.
And that’s why I was sitting on my couch for two hours playing Candy Crush, but not being lazy. I was having an incredibly useful and productive daydreaming session. After a good night’s sleep and two hours of letting my mind wander, I think I know why the beginning of this novel still doesn’t work. Maybe it’s not the right answer and I’ll hit another roadblock later; but for now, I have a plan and will be able to get back to writing.
If I’d sat at my computer staring at a blank page or words that I knew didn’t work, I wouldn’t have gotten this far. Really, it’s much more likely that I would have ended up going down an unproductive Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube rabbit hole and still wouldn’t have a plan of attack. But I’ve figured out that what I, personally, really need is to give the logical, pattern recognition side of my brain something to do so the creative side can work its magic. Sometimes that means taking a walk in the park or floating in the pool, observing the patterns in nature. Sometimes it means sitting on the couch staring at my phone as my thumbs explode digital pieces of candy.
Sometimes the work of writing doesn’t look like writing at all. Figure out what works best for you. Give yourself permission to do it.
Now, I need to stop pontificating and go make these revisions that this daydreaming session helped me figure out!