I’ve set myself up with a lot of really difficult goals for this year and I’ve just completed one of them: finishing up the Wake Up Married serial. I have to finalize the pre-sale of the Episodes 1-6 bundle, but, otherwise, that project is in the can. My business plan tells me that the next thing on my plate is another huge project (know as the ’90s Coming of Age series) and I do want to work on that.
However, today I was hit by two incredibly fun plot bunnies. After spending several hours forcing myself to ignore them and work on what was on my “to do” list for my big project, I realized that I was dragging my feet and being less productive that I might otherwise be. Eventually, I said, “Screw it. I’ll just make a few notes about these book ideas.” Next thing I knew, entire scenes were showing up, and I was scrambling to get words down. I wrote 3,000 words today on a project that isn’t what I’m supposed to be working on.
At first, I was castigating myself. “You’re wasting time, Leta. You’re supposed to be focusing on the next big thing on the plan.” But suddenly I had a glimpse of myself as a friend would see me and I realized, “Hold up. You’ve been working your ass off for a really long time. You deserve a play break.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had a great time writing the Wake Up Married serial, and before that Vespertine, and before that Training Complex, and before that Smoky Mountain Dreams. But the thing is, ever since Smoky Mountain Dreams, I’ve been working on something I’m supposed to be working on instead of something that has just appeared in my mind like a gift from the gods. As I put it to a friend, “There is a big difference between that thrilling sensation of creating something while in the throes of inspiration and writing something and thinking, ‘Good thing this is fun, because it’s also really hard work.'”
So, yes, I decided that for two weeks I’m going to allow myself to play. I can write whatever I want. Two weeks will not matter in the scheme of the big project I’m doing this fall. Not even a whit. But if I remain as excited and eager to work on these two new ideas, I could make a large dent in them over two weeks. It’s unlikely I’d finish anything, but getting something started means there’s something to come back to finish up later.
Anyway, yeah. Permission to play. I’m granting it to myself.