Some writers out there are jugglers. They can easily switch from project to project. In fact, there are those who strongly feel that you should have more than one project out there so that you can jump to something else if you feel blocked. Since I am by nature both a plodder and a polisher, I prefer to keep myself completely submerged in a single project. If I can’t move forward, I’ll go back and tweak things so that I’m staying involved with my characters.
One of the reasons that I don’t like picking things up and putting them down is that I can lose a lot of momentum. It isn’t easy for me to get back on the rails of the story and start chugging along again. In fact, it can take four to six weeks to get up a good head of steam. But I’m hoping that it won’t take so long to get back to work on PORTRAIT after turning in a revision to my agent for her reading week.
If I hadn’t had a high school graduation, a college graduation and a visit from my sister who’s been working in Egypt to enjoy, I might have been able to spend about a half an hour a day on my Italian chase novel while spending the chunk of my productive mornings on the revisions of Calyn’s story. Then I could have kept some forward momentum. But here’s a near paraphrase of a quote from Newbery Medalist Katherine Paterson: “The things that keep us from writing are the same things that give us something to write about.”