Something completely different

Every now and then I say on this blog that I’m going to do these Interim Projects. It never actually happens, but it’s something that I say. The idea behind Interim Projects is that they are something to ‘tide me over’ while I’m taking a break from Tallulah, so that I’m not just sitting on my hands – something to do in the interim, as it were.

Today, I realised that while this seems intuitive, there’s an even more intuitive reason for why it never works out the way it’s intended to.

I want time to just sit on my hands. Nay, I need time which is spent doing nothing but … well, nothing. I’ve been more active over the past 12 months than I have been in a very long time, more self-directed and motivated to actually Get Things Done than I have perhaps ever been, and it’s been wonderful; and it would not have worked as well as it did if there were not massive stretches of time in which I just wasn’t doing jack all.

But Interim Projects still have a purpose, and that is to break tunnel-vision. And what I realised today is that the best time to do them, therefore, is while I have tunnel-vision. Which, coincidentally, is right now.

Perhaps the reason I never put this all together before now is because I thought that if I was focused on one project, I would lose that focus if I started diverting my energies into doing something else. And that’s true, to an extent. If I were to run off and start writing another full-length novel, for instance, I’m pretty sure that would absolutely kill my momentum and my rapport with my current project, which would be horrible. It is part of the reason why I was so skeptical about going back to study while I’m trying to get a novel written, and I will have to see how that plays out. But as far as Interim Projects go, my current feeling is that something with low time-commitment and high contrast to what I’m currently focused on is the best way to break out of tunnel-vision, and to keep things fresh with my main project.

My current idea is to write a script; I had the idea for it on my walk today, and what’s more is that it’s something I’ve wanted to do since at least the beginning of this year, and perhaps since last year, I can’t quite remember – a while anyway. This script is going to be submitted to a variety show that the university drama club puts on every year; whether or not it is accepted is beside the point – I’ve never even submitted anything to them before, so that in and of itself will be an accomplishment. And if it is picked up and performed, then that’ll be really awesome, but it’s not necessary. The point is that I have a clear goal for this particular Interim Project; it has a life of its own outside of simply being something to break up the flow (in a good way) and keep my WIP from getting stale. If I throw too many of these IPs into the mix then I’ll just get distracted; I think a bit of tunnel-vision is a good thing, just because it keeps you on-point, but too much and it’s easy to grow resentful of it. I imagine it’s quite the balancing-act, but I’m keen to get started.

Even maintaining this blog really counts as an Interim Project in that sense; it has its own purpose, and it is something that is not my WIP for me to work on in order to break up the monotony. I wonder how much more productive I would have been in my early days of Writing if I’d kept a writing blog (and had the self-discipline to not spend all day writing in it about the things I wanted to write as opposed to actually writing the things I wanted to write). And when I go back to study, Tallulah itself may end up becoming an Interim Project, just in the sense that I’ll have to spend much more time studying than Writing. I’m sure I can juggle it all; it’s just getting my head around it that’s going to be the main challenge.

Or, rather, getting it around my head. My head is my workspace after all, so everything I’ve got up in there needs to have its own designated space. Should be … fun … working all of that out.

So, a change in pace. Not for long, perhaps not even for an hour; I pretty much know exactly how I want this thing to play out, which is the great thing about working with short pieces – they’re an opportunity to take one idea, one note, and just hone in on it like crazy, rather than having to try and juggle several things all at once. A one-shot. A glimpse – but a really intense glimpse. The whole ‘quality over quantity’ thing. Kind of like cheesecake I guess; really nice if you just have a slice, but not something you’d want to try and get through a full-sized cake of on your own in one sitting.

I think this will be good for me. A healthy break in momentum, so that I appreciate it all the more when I come back to it.

As for Tallulah – I think that my idea of writing out the full scenes is actually the best way to go, for one simple reason: I’m going to have to write them at some point anyway, in order to put them into the story. So I’ll keep writing the list of things I want to happen, just to be thorough and organised and all that other responsible stuff, but I’m also going to write the scenes if I end up being drawn in that direction. Writing them out is also the best way to see how they’d fit in their entirety. I don’t want to get burnt-out doing this, so I don’t think making a deadline for them is going to help very much, and who knows how much time I’ll actually have free to devote to drafting once semester begins anyway, so just getting started is, I think, going to be enough to go on.

Also I have another library book to read, the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood, entitled Girl of Nightmares. I am looking forward to catching up with Cas, Carmel and the others; I just hope it’s as good as the first book. I will undoubtedly let you know what I think, one way or the other, once I actually have some time to read it.

 

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