The twilight zone of being in between projects.

If you are a writer, this is an all too familiar place you’ve been. At least I think all writers have been here.

It’s the twilight zone for writers called between projects. I don’t like this place. I feel purposeless and discouraged. Have you been there?

I dislike this place so much, that I try to have story ideas outlined and ready to go. If I’m ahead of the game, I’ve already written a chapter or two while I’m revising. But this time around, I was really focused on my rewriting, researching agents, and writing my query letter. So focused, that I got nowhere on outlining/plotting a new story.

So, here I am, sitting at the dusty crossroads with my suitcase at my feet and my thumb in the air, waiting for a new idea to come by and offer me a ride. I’m not jumping headfirst into a project until I’m in love and excited. There are a few ideas pulling at me, but  they aren’t fully formed yet.

So, I’m waiting. And waiting. And waiting. My critique partners are thrilled, I’m returning their chapters with lightning speed. I’m reading and reading and reading. So, in some regards, this isn’t such a bad place to be.

But I can’t sit and twiddle my thumbs forever. So, there are a few things I’m considering.

1. Analyze books that I love, break them down, piece by piece – so I can learn.

2. Eat Hershey kisses at random moments through out the day. 

3. Read lots of books for enjoyment.

4. Eat more hershey kisses at random moments through out the day. 

5. Write a short story for submission, which I’ve never done before.

6. Maybe switch over to eating mini peanut butter cups at opportune moments in the day and evening. 

7. Watch the Olympics.

8. Watch American Idol while eating Hershey kisses.

9. Plan out blog posts for the next ten years.

10. Write some fun parodies for purely my own entertainment.

What do you do in between projects? I will take any suggestions b/c the Hershey kisses are almost gone.

9 Responses to The twilight zone of being in between projects.

  1. Anna February 17, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    I’ve definitely been there! I get so restless in between projects (and also consume mass amounts of chocolate). I find that sometimes going back to old, abandoned projects sparks something. Also, reading books that inspire you and trying to figure out why you connect with them so much is a good exercise. Once you figure out what that connection is, you might be able to figure out how to approach that same theme/topic/etc. in a project of your own.

    Then again, sometimes it’s a good thing to just give yourself a break. 🙂

    Good luck!

  2. MG Higgins February 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    I vote for writing fun parodies for your own entertainment. It’s been my experience when I write just for the fun of it, it really frees up my creative juices. And who knows, maybe your ramblings will turn into a novel.

  3. Laura February 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Thanks Anna and MG – It’s nice to know others hit that inbetween stage. I really really don’t like it! I feel so…unproductive. I might actually have to clean and organize. 🙂

  4. Susan R. Mills February 17, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    I say do all of the above. I’ve never been in that place. I think I might be when I finish this current project. I’m like you–I have two ideas that I’ve started working on, but neither of them are pulling at me. We’ll see what happens when I finish my revisions. I might be eating Hershey kisses right along with you. Best of luck.

  5. Laura February 17, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by Susan. I probably will do all of the above by the time my ideas come together! 🙂

  6. Karen February 18, 2010 at 1:18 am #

    Ha, while eating chocolate will NEVER get old for me, I love reading books and breaking them down to learn.

    Plus, I also love reading the “weird news” on the Web to strike up novel ideas.

    Sometimes I just take a nap. LOL.

  7. Laura February 18, 2010 at 1:38 am #

    Karen – Maybe I’ll do all of those. 🙂

  8. Nelsa February 18, 2010 at 4:37 am #

    It depends on how I got to the in between stage.

    If I’ve worked through a particularly hard revision or if I’ve finally put to bed a tough first draft I’m totally happy to be done for a while. I know that time won’t last so I enjoy it by doing alot of those things on your list (love Reese’s PBC’s by the way!).

    There are always ideas noodling around ready to make themselves so insistent I’ll have to start writing them. But – like my writing – I do set a timeline for my break. No longer than a month otherwise it’s too hard to start writing again!

  9. Laura February 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Thanks Nelsa, You’re right. It’s okay to take a small break and get renewed. But I’d rather do it with a solid idea on the back burner. I’m getting there. 🙂

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