After five days away from the manuscript, parts of my brain are starting to regrow. I think I’m getting words back, too. I either forgot or used up a bunch while I was working on it. Or maybe they just hid.
Still writing, though. I’m not so great at not writing. But most of what I’ve been doing has been fun stuff, stuff that’s just for me. I’ve been playing in the sandbox. Cut scenes based on characters from an old project, battle scenes from the tabletop RPG I play in, bits and pieces of other stories. All stuff that’s never meant for anyone’s eyes but mine, for the most part. But they’re fun. And that’s what matters right now.
You’ve got to leave a little room to experiment in your work, too. How else do you find out about new things that you want to write? How will I ever know if I want to write military sci-fi unless I try to write some? These pieces are the writer equivalent of the doodles you find in an artist’s sketch books. Nothing really polished. But still fun to look at and to do. A grand experiment.
And, you never know. I might get ideas from this stuff that I can turn into short stories, or longer things. I might get some stuff that I can submit somewhere. But if I don’t, it doesn’t matter, because that’s not what the sandbox is for.
When was the last time you went to play in your sandbox? That you wrote something just for you, without regard to outlines or deadlines or solid ideas? If it’s been a while, then that’s today’s Monday Challenge for you: go write something just for you. Space opera with bunny rabbits? Sure. Gay film noir? Whatever. It’s not about perfection. Hell, it’s not even about making sense if you don’t want it to. Just do something you’ve always wanted to try. A sword fight. A romantic dinner scene. A couple of characters played horseshoes in the backyard right before, I dunno, sentient moles attack from below the earth. Or they could just play horseshoes. Or lawn darts. Man, I miss lawn darts.
Writing doesn’t have to be deadly serious all the time. Give yourself time to play. Have fun. Or else you’re going to lose your taste for this stuff pretty fast.