Today marked the end of the longest planned break I've taken from writing Sunborn II (Sunborn 1 to be released in a month or two). I started writing this book in November as part of the NaNoWrImO project that a lot of authors participate in. I knew I couldn't write my book in a month, but figured why not write as much as I can, as often as I can and see where we are. I wrote about 10,000 words in November and since then I've typed up 44,000. The goal is somewhere around 70k, but I'll stop when the story's done, whether that's before or after 70k. But I noticed today that it took me a lot longer to jump back into writing the story. I first looked over the notes of things I want to happen (these are written on paper in multiple spiral notebooks, and on a small notepad) and then I read through the last two chapters I'd written. And since this is a sequel, I read through some of the original book for some details that carried over to the sequel I was unsure of. So I spent a lot of my writing time today not even writing, I was reading. For me that's a huge part of the process.
I'm not sure I could write a book without taking breaks. I mean, I'm sure I could write, but I'm not sure it would be worth reading. There's a certain fatigue that happens to me when I do the same thing over and over again for so long, and writing a novel is no exception. That's why I have so many short stories. I wrote most of them while I was writing Bad Dreams and Sunborn. They were part of my breaks from writing the same story. During my most recent break I chose to simply relax. To do no writing, and instead I read a book and watched some good television and a movie. I think this is as equally important as writing. If you're not experiencing stories written by other people, than how are you going to grow? I know we grow by doing, but we need to witness what can be done. We need to see the great art that others have created to inspire us to try to achieve those same heights, and in some cases try to surpass them.
Breaks are also a great time to just think about the problem and how you can solve it. Another reason I wanted to take a break is because I've managed to climb over the halfway mark of my novel and I can feel the ending coming in. I'm not ready for it, I feel the book needs more, and of course as you get close to the end, you have to figure out how your loose ends are going to get tied up. So I wanted to mull these things over, figure out if the book was truly near it's end, and also, I needed to know what happened next. That simple question that every author asks themselves at some point, that was also a problem. Because I knew the big things, and I knew the basic conclusion that's coming, but I didn't know what the exact next thing would be, so that was added to my list of things to mull over.
So my break ended today. I typed up 1,436 words, which isn't a lot for me, but they were quality words, which I care a lot more about than hitting arbitrary numbers. And I've answered a lot of those questions I had, and I feel like the stories headed in the right direction toward an ending I hope will not only be satisfying, but emotionally fulfilling. Because if I haven't made you feel an emotion, than I think I've failed. Here's crossing my fingers I get a tear or two. Or maybe just a smile. We'll see.