Two weeks ago, I was scurrying to finish a round of edits for my work-in-progress, a novel about homophobia in the military. That particular edit pass took almost three months, carefully crawling through page after page, taking it slow, polishing three to five pages per day. Editing is my least favorite task, but it takes the most skill and effort. It also has the biggest payoff when I do it well.
When I finished that pass, rather than turn back to page one and plow into another round of edits (hopefully the last on this manuscript), I did Herman and myself a favor. I agreed to take a ten-day vacation to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit friends and family. During that time, I did no edits, no writing. Each day we lunched and dined with dear friends and family members. It turned into a great social getaway and a well-needed rest.
Now I’m back at my desk, looking out at a steal-gray morning, and ready to press my nose to the grindstone. Why am I pushing myself? I’m under contract to deliver a novel by the end of this year and an anthology of short stories by March 2014.
Between now and the end of the year my Monday through Friday schedule will be: writing short stories in the mornings (shooting for 800 words per day), editing three to five pages of my novel manuscript in the afternoons, and trying to squeeze in time for Twitter, Facebook, and book marketing.
It will be a taxing schedule for me over the next three to four months, but I’m feeling relaxed and ready for the challenge. Time off to recharge is important, perhaps the most important thing a writer can do for themself.