I’ve been on a bit of a “down time” tear recently. That’s because I’ve had my nose poked by the marked difference in my mood and motivation to write after having six weeks off over Christmas.
I’ve written one book since coming back to work in late January, and I’m just into writing the first few chapters of book two, and because I’m suddenly conscious of mood/energy/motivation, I noticed that there was a strong inclination for me to goof off between the books. I was still mentally wrapped up in the characters and situations of the last book and the characters and situations of the next book didn’t hold nearly as much appeal.
Now I’m fully committed to the characters and situations in the second book, I’m more than happy to write it. I imagine when I get to the end of this book, I’ll drag my heels over the next book, for the same reason.
There are many writers who take a break between books. Usually, the reason is to build in down-time, to recover from the labour of the first book, etc. I don’t think anyone has ever mentioned that the lull between books is a good way of distancing yourself from the characters and situations of the first book, so you can become immersed in the next one.
When you’re writing many books quickly, you need to find a way to severe the intimate relationships you’ve built in the previous book. I have mentioned in other posts about taking a break between books, but the idea of time off, for me, is absurd. I can’t see myself ever doing it voluntarily, just as I have problems with the idea of vacations.
For me, it would be better to find a way to cut the ties to the old book that don’t involve blowing time doing nothing. Although, if it works for you and you don’t mind spending the time, then you can build the lull between books into your production schedule.
These are some of the tactics I’m going to try at the end of this book:
- Read the book in the series immediately preceding the one I’m going to write next, just as I’m approaching the end of the book I’m writing, to get my head into that universe.
- Spend an hour or two writing about the upcoming book, and what I’m looking forward to writing in that story, based on what I know now about it. (This document will also help start the plotting process.)
- Catch myself whenever I find myself thinking about the last book, and switch to thinking about the new book, instead.
- Clear the decks (blog posts, emails, production done ahead of time) so I can spend an entire day working in the story universe — an immersive experience.
Now I am aware of the foot-dragging, I can combat it.
What about you? If you’re prolific, what do you do to mentally move from the last story universe to the next one?