Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hard Times

In Hamlet, Claudius tells his wife "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions." That often seems true in real life.

Within the last two weeks I have lost a friend and a family member. That makes writing difficult. You may have such times of sorrow, too - maybe not caused by deaths, but by discouragement and bad news: a rejected manuscript, loss of a job, illness, accident.

There's a lot lurking out there to ambush us, folks. So do you quit writing? Well, sometimes you have to take a pause. However, rather than just getting completely away from it, I prefer to keep a foot in the door.

So instead of writing new material, I take the moments I have (and sometimes there are very few of them) to read back over and tweak a small section of manuscript. Often I will note troublesome parts, bits that I worked over and still was not satisfied with. Those are the ones I revisit.

It helps. It helps take my mind off my troubles, and it helps the manuscript a little. Maybe it will or will not work for you, but it's worth a try. If nothing else, it's a time when I can read over my outline (no chapter is outlined at greater length than about half a page, single-spaced) and just let what is already done ferment a little in my mind and plant the chapter to come a little more firmly.

It's something to try as you fend off those battalions of sorrows that now and then attack us all.

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