Vacations Are Terrible Things

Vacations are terrible things. It’s worth repeating because, for someone trying to faithfully write a manuscript, they really are. I haven’t written a word of Augira in over a week – not a word! I had gotten to the point where I could maybe give myself a weekend off, but then, well, then we went on vacation. First, the beautiful Sierra Nevadas called – and how could I say no? And then, of course, Southern California and the friends and family there beckoned irresistibly, inviting us to reminisce just a little before summer fades away and reality returns. With just one day in between those trips, well, writing was the last thing on my mind. Now, that’s not to say I didn’t write while on vacation – I did, I promise! – but, well, that only happened twice, I shamefully admit. You know how it goes, the best laid plans of mice and Laurens…

And now I’m back. For three days. Before ANOTHER trip. Goodness, I must be a busy lady, no? Yes. Luckily, this trip is back to the ol’ homestead where I grew up. Rusty or not, I will be writing throughout the whole visit – at least 10,000 words by the end of Labor Day. I promised myself that my first draft would be done by September 15th, and I’m sticking to it! The only problem is that I was writing 2,000 to 4,000 words/day every weekday during July, writing religiously to meet self-imposed goals. I got into a rhythm. Now that I’ve gotten out of it, it is surprisingly difficult to get back into it.

During my vacation, I traded writing for reading, and practically forgot to mentally check in on Renna, Evie, and Torune (they are usually not far from my thoughts). It’s easy to get so lost in the books I’m reading that I put my story on the mental back burner, focusing all my idle thoughts on the characters and plot devised by whichever author I’m currently reading (in this case, Mercedes Lackey’s first published trilogy, The Heralds of Valdemar series). Looking at books from the perspective of a person who is currently writing one gives me a whole different viewpoint than I had before. For instance, I noticed immediately that Lackey was new at this in the first book, Arrows of the Queen, because she used a head-hopping third person perspective that felt awkward, sloppy, and amateur. Interestingly, she fixed it easily in the second and third books in the series by effectively using page breaks between the perspectives of different characters. Having read most of the many books Lackey has written, especially the newer ones, it was fascinating to see the trilogy that started her career as a published author. One of my projects while I write has been to read the first published pieces written by my favorite authors to see how they compare to their recent, wonderful works. It’s been a very interesting experience – and rather comforting. Regardless of how ridiculously good they are now, they didn’t start out perfect, so I shouldn’t expect to either. πŸ™‚

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