A Long, Productive February
We're at the end of February already. How did that happen?
So I have been hard at work on my novels this month. Well...mostly.
You want to know the truth? I took a week off. And I still managed to write more than I did in January. And you know what else?
It was great.
The Week of Slacking
For an entire week, I gave myself permission to slack off, basically. Let's be honest—I should have cleaned more of the house and accomplished more tangible things, but slacking off was exactly what my body and mind needed.
At the end of my Week of Slacking, I found I was more like myself and much less overwhelmed. I was really getting crazy-eyed and stressed, and now I feel like things are oddly back in control. (The hardest thing for me was actually Monday—and trying to not write a word. I cheated that night; I outlined my novella, which I'll talk about below.)
Why Did I Take a Break?
In this production-driven world, taking a break is akin to giving up. Days off just don't really happen. I don't think we, especially Americans, appreciate what a good day or three or seven can do for your productivity. Yet it's something that's been on my mind a lot lately as I struggle to "fit in" with this production-driven world.
Part of this motivation to take a mini-vacation came from two recent sermons I heard: one on David's exhaustion of waiting for God to throne him (and temporarily "giving up"), and one on Paul's words in Corinthians regarding humans' requirement for rest. Two different churches, two different scripture passages, one real message that hit home for me. Both were exactly what I needed to hear, and they motivated me to ease up on myself, especially given how overwhelmed I've been lately.
Being a mom is a full-time job with no breaks and vacations. You're constantly wiping bodies, counters, floors, preparing meals, soothing tantrums, interrupting fights... Then when your break (I.e. naptime) finally comes around, you have to first convince the kid(s) to sleep, then try to sit down and breathe before sitting down to write.
I'm not complaining. I love my kids and I love writing. I love that I can stay home with my kids and still squeeze in time to write throughout the day. But it doesn't make the day any easier. It makes some days so stressful that I want to shut down.
But, I'm so excited about my works right now... I have book 1 finished, book 2 is being beta read, and I'm writing book 3. (Well, I've actually taken a mini-break from writing book 2 in order to write book 2.5, a novella that fits in between the two books.)
February Goals & Slaying Dragons
So for February, despite my mid-month break, I was able to write over 45K on the Canens Chronicles. My current daily goal is 2K, but *shrugs unapologetically* I took a mini vacation (with no regrets!).
After that break, I was able to return to writing with more enthusiasm and focus and hammer out those 2,000 words a day, despite the fact that the stressors were still there. Sometimes, a girl needs a break. Even more true for a mom with youngsters. :-)
Instead of picking up where I left off on book 3 of the Canens Chronicles (Fae & Fable), I decided to start writing the novella that was bugging me. This one is solely focused on Rapunzel and happens outside the plot of the 4-book series I have planned for the Canens Chronicles, but its timeline is in the middle of the series, and so it makes it a little challenging to keep things straight, especially as some details are set in stone.
Anyway, I'll leave you with the opening bit of Rope & Rampion. Lots will probably change, but sometimes it's fun to share at this level too.
Just tell me if this reads like the Rapunzel you know... ;-) And remember—it’s a rough draft!
Rope & Rampion (working title)
A bird squawks somewhere outside the window of my tower, a screech somewhere between discomfort and annoyance. I race to the window, eager for the distraction and trip on the rope across the floor.
I grunt, sprawling across the floor, and glare at the golden hair that all but reached out and grabbed my feet. Ignoring it and pushing my annoyance aside, I push myself up and complete the dash to the window.
Perhaps a hawk is chasing another bird, and I'll get to watch him take it down and tear into the flesh. Or perhaps the bird will miraculously escape and fly away into freedom I can only dream of. My breath hitches in my throat at the very idea.
At the window, I lean out as far as I can, staring into the early morning, golden sky spotted with wispy clouds. The squawk echoes from above the trees, and I whip my head around, half leaning out of the window and craning around to see the bird.
But the screeching bird has gone, and one more echoing cry tells me it's dipped below the trees onto the side of my tower with no window.
My shoulders sink as I pull myself back inside the stone tower. Halfway in, I hesitate, pushing my ridiculously long hair off the stone sill of the window and folding my arms, resting them atop the sill and my chin atop them. I heave a sigh and resign myself to watching the sun rise fully over the distant sea. I have many things to do, but I have time to give myself this pleasure first. I always have time.
At least you have the best view in all the Seven Kingdoms, I hear Mama's words echoing in my head. I've heard them all my life, and all my life I've scoffed at them. And yet, all I can do when she isn't here is to repeat them to myself, hoping that I'll somehow manage to be grateful for their truth, meanwhile convincing myself of their truth. Perhaps if I pretend the words are true, they will become true. Is that how truth works? I tap my fingers on my arm, trying to brush away the confusion of my thoughts.