Now that I have printed out my hard copy of the WIP in Revision, I need to let it sit on the shelf for a week or so. Why? Because right now I can’t see the forest for the trees. My brain needs a break. I need to shift my focus and look in another direction for a while in order to come back to the WIP with a fresh mind. I also need to take a break because I need to be receptive to the critiques I’ll be getting from my CPs. I might want to rebel, but the truth is, I need to look at my “baby” with a critical eye as well.
But separating oneself from a WIP one’s worked on for four months is tough. Here are some ways I handle the separation anxiety:
1) Try to finish the WIPs, writing work before a major holiday or break. In this case, Spring Break starts on Saturday. Now I’m gearing up for the break, a trip and getting excited about seeing my friends in North Carolina.
2) Plan to exchange work with your CPs. This way I can fill my need to read, but it’s my CP’s work and it takes me out of my writing world.
3) Read a craft book or take an online course while taking a break. This is a great way to prep for the next first draft and/or to brainstorm for ideas for the current WIP under Wraps.
4) Putter around the house. Do things you don’t normally have time to do. Plan a gardening project or home project. Direct your creative energy elsewhere.
5) Catch up on your to-be-watched list (television or movies)
6) Plan fun events with your friends. Go for lunches. Shop. Visit cool places.
7) Catch up on your to-be-read pile (you know the stack of books you WANT to read that’s next to your bed?). Fill your mind with other people’s amazing, published works.
8) Celebrate the fact that you’ve finished another wrestling round with the WIP.
9) Straighten up the office, the work space, clear out the old clutter and free yourself for the next round or starting a new project.
10) Do nothing at all–don’t have deadlines or schedules to meet. Just chillax’ and put your feet up. Rest is good for the creative soul.
What are some of the ways you deal with your separation anxiety during the “shelf stage” of writing?