I am currently on Day 4 of my winter break and have actually been pretty productive in that time. Lots of cleaning has taken place, I got some fabulous new bookshelves from my parents, last night I went and saw the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 at the United Center.
And, FINALLY, I've gotten back to the summer novel! Rereading, tweaking, rediscovering, editing, cleaning up, etc. Take your pick.
Now I finished the first draft back in August, so why did it take me this long to get back to it? For one, life got in the way just a bit. A new job, a new semester of grad school, and all that jazz. And then there was the November novel that I needed to write (a primal need, not like 'so-and-so decrees you must write a book this month!' need).
And, if I'm honest, I was a bit nervous. I figured that if writing a book was going to be anything like the infinite number of papers I've had to write for school, the first draft was going to be absolute crap. I was feeling so good about being able to say that I've written a draft of a novel, so how awful would I feel if I went back and read it only to discover that it was terrible?
So with great trepidation, I opened that incredibly intimidating document on my computer that contains so much of myself, and I began to read. To my absolute delight and total surprise, it wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined it would be. In fact, I'm actually enjoying it. It turns out for me, taking a break from the story was a very good thing at least this time around. I'm enjoying seeing these characters again, reimagining them and evaluating the choices I made back when the temperatures were in the 70s instead of the 30s.
My Solstice Solution and advice is simple: take your time, but give yourself a limit. When I started November novel, I did so only by promising myself that I would go through summer novel at least once before the end of the calendar year. Like with any relationship, be careful about the idea of "we're on a break." Don't let the break somehow turn into a permanent one. Also, challenge yourself to look at your story through a different lens. When this story first came to be, I looked at it as a writer. Now I'm looking at it as a reader - what am I enjoying? What makes me cringe (and is it supposed to make me do that)? Does that part feel too long/short/boring/awesome? I take note of these things as I'm going along and then I'll go back see what can be done to make them better.
So there are my two cents. In other news, today is the Winter Solstice! Okay, technically it was at 11:30 last night but according to my desk calendar it's today so without further adieu, the traditional "Monica standing an egg on its end because it's the solstice or equinox" picture!