There’s nothing like a break to reset one’s mind before going back to writing. As every writer knows, writing is rewriting. The first drafts are the skeleton, but the remaining ones are the organs and the final integument to a book, short story, etc. I spent a long time writing and rewriting my novel, and the same for a few short stories in-between. The positive was that it all improved my book, but the unseen negative is that because I was doing the same thing over and over, my perspective did not always advance in terms of real improvements. Now and again, I would take a month off from writing just to clear my head a bit, and there were improvements, but I never received the mental refresh I wanted.
That changed when I took a long hiatus. Actually, a really long one—I went to graduate school for urban planning (another professional dream of mine). Even though I was writing my first novel, I decided my daily work life needed a change and the time was right for it. I knew I would return to the novel later regardless, so I put it down temporarily to concentrate on my new studies. In this case, I put it down for 2 years! I didn’t see a word of my novel in that time, and honestly, I didn’t have the time to if I really wanted to concentrate on graduating, and not let my two endeavors get in each other’s ways, as they certainly would have.
After I graduated with my Master’s Degree, I job-searched of course, but I also went back to writing. Early-to-mid-week was spent looking for employment, with extended weekends doing one last draft after not having seen my work in what felt like forever. I was excited and a little afraid at once. What if I couldn’t just pick it back up after all that time? What if I had lost my passion?! Oh no!
Well, I did pick it back up. And from the moment I sat down and restarted my first chapter, the joy of revising my novel returned. Just like that. I immediately remembered how much I love writing and creating a story. In my earlier writing days, my favorite times were sitting in my writing chair in the late-morning sun redrafting. Nothing else in life compared to it. It felt the same this time around, and, I did some of the best work and made some of the greatest improvements to-date. From beginning to end, my book is far better than it ever was, and I’m more proud of it than ever.