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Twiddlin’ my thumbs

by Robin Covington 11 August 2011 14 Comments

I recently wrapped up the first draft of my latest WIP and put it aside for a couple of weeks before tackling the editing process and submitting it to a publisher who made a request for the full. I mentioned this to a colleague at work and he asked, “Now, what do you do? What next?”

Good question.

There is nothing sweeter to me than when I get to type “The End” to a manuscript that I have labored over for several months. Now, I’m a night writer so usually this occurs when the Main Man and the kiddos are fast asleep and since the Main Man usually can’t go back to sleep once he’s been woken up – I leave him alone and wait to tell him in the morning.

So, I do a little solitary happy dance in my writing cave and maybe have a little drinky-poo to toast my accomplishment and then I look at the clock and realize that I need to get up in a few hours for the day job and I hit the sack. Not exactly the red carpet, but we end up doing a little celebrating the next day as a family.

But, what about the following days when my fingers still feel the ghost-touch of the computer keyboard but I’m just not full recharged yet to tackle the next project?

Looking back, I realize that my “downtime” has evolved into a pattern of activity that revs up my creativity and lets me relax at the same time.

1. Catch up on my reading: I am a voracious reader and I find that I start digging in to my TBR pile with a fevered ferocity. I am also a fast reader and I can polish off two-four books per week between my reading the traditional way (you know, with my eyeballs) and having my Kindle read to me when I am in the car.

So far, I’ve polished off “Come Unto These Yellow Sands” by Josh Lanyon, “A Fountain Filled with Blood” by Julia Spencer Fleming, “Destiny’s Bastard” by Hank Edwards and “Perfect Chemistry” by Simone Ellkelles.

I’ll also read writing craft books during this time but lately it’s been all pleasure reading.

2. Scrapbook:  I love this hobby. I get to use my hands, get messy and immerse myself in the memories of my photographs. It gets my creativity a jumpstart since it locks into another part of my brain.

3. I watch movies and catch up on TV: I write at night after the kiddos are in bed so while I may DVR shows I don’t always get to watch them right away. And movies?  Well, with babysitters earning $10 per hour – it doesn’t happen except for our monthly date night.  So, I have Netflix and then I get to see the movies I vaguely remember being in theaters sometime in the last decade.   A recent favorite? “Love and Other Drugs” with the yummy Jake Gyllenhall – naked. ‘Nuff said.

4. Plot the next book: I let my mind start to work out the next book – slowly and organically. I may jot down random ideas, start to work out characters but I’m not actively writing yet. I find things and dump them into my Scrivener file, clip photos and such to inspiration wall in my writing cave (see right – I made the corkboard decoration – cute, right?) and generally let the story percolate.

So, that’s what I do in an nutshell. What do you do in between book projects?



  • Stacey Joy Netzel said:

    Hey, Robin, I’m pretty much like you between projects. Definitely with the reading, and watching movies. My house usually gets cleaned better, too. It doesn’t take long for me to get the itch though…and I’m back to a new Word document. Congratulations on finishing your current WIP!

  • Elizabeth Kelley said:

    Good morning Robin. Congratulations on getting to “The End.” There is nothing sweeter, because now comes the dreaded edits.

    I too like reading, watching movies. The only thing different is, I paint with the ipod plugged into the ears. I love the flow of the brush over canvas and watching an image come to life, while the beat of my favorite song plays.

  • Tara Kingston said:

    Hi Robin,

    Like you, I use that time to catch up on my TBR pile. So many books, so little time…I also try to do a little get-away trip, a weekend or something like that, just to recharge the batteries.

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Stacey – Umm . . I’m sure my hubby wishes I got the cleaning bug! : ) You can come and clean my house next time!

    Elizabeth – Painting . . .didn’t know that bout you! it probably gives you same creative flow that scrapbooking gives me.

    Tara – A trip sounds wonderful! We are going to Hershey Park this weekend – maybe I’ll get inspired by all those kisses?

    Thanks for stopping by ladies!

  • Kelly said:

    I think my list would look like this but as a home schooling mom, most of my free time goes to teaching or driving somewhere! However my youngest is 14, so we have just a few years left of constant activity. Now I’m sitting here fantasizing about what it will be like having down-time!!!

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Kelly – My kids are 8 and 6 – so I’ve got a ways to go yet!

  • Sandy said:

    Lately, I’ve been very sluggish, and I haven’t finished my wip. Congrats on getting to the end, Robin.

  • Kelsey Browning said:

    Hey, Robin –

    Congrats on typing “the end.” Darn, that feels great, doesn’t it??

    Hmm…it’s been a while since I wrote those words because life seems to force breaks on me. But what I do to recharge? Read like a madwoman (which I planning on doing while I’m on vacay next week!). Reorganize my office. Do some other creative project. I used to scrapbook, but gave it up when my husband started shooting 10,000+ pictures a year. Just overwhelms me to think about it. So I might knit a scarf or play around with a sketch book where I paste things that appeal to me.

    So, so proud of you for hitting the end, again!

  • Carol Ericson said:

    Congrats on finishing your WIP, Robin! Sounds like you get the most out of your downtime. I don’t have a lot of downtime, even between WIPs, since I need to get to the next one pretty quickly. But I do love my walks to the beach, and I’d love to get caught up on my reading! Hmm, I’m also thinking about starting some scrapbooks for my boys’ school years before they’re over. Maybe you can give me some tips there – never done it before.

  • JK Coi said:

    Yay, for the end!
    Enjoy your downtime, but it will definitely feel good to get into something new again, once you’re rested and ready!

    I’m starting something new now too, and the beginning has been tough, I think because I didn’t take enough time off to recuperate in between. Hopefully, that will change soon and the fingers will start flying over that keyboard :)

  • Jill James said:

    I definitely read alot and watch tv alot in between projects. But I can’t go too long or it is hard to get back on the writing every day track.

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Sandy – Thanks! You’ll get there!

    Kelsey – Thanks lady! I’d love to be able to knit but I’ve never been able to get hang of it.

    Carol – I used to teach scrapbooking classes and I had a couple of my designs published – I’d love to help you out!

    JK – beginnings are hard for me to until I get in groove with the book.I don’t look forward to that!

    Jill – I definitely can’t indulge for too long – you’re right, I need to keep in the groove.

  • Joan Leacott said:

    Hey Robin, Chocolate cheers for hitting The End. I read in measured doses all the time, so my TBR pile has only two books in it. Now, I get to go book shopping. Yippee! My between times are occupied by handcrafts; sewing, painting, knitting, crocheting and lots of (make that too much) baking. And my piano gets a whole lot more attention.

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Joan: My Kindle has not helped by book addiction! I’m so shameless that I crave instant gratification.I know lots of authors who also indulge in handcrafts as well – a constant urge to feed our creativity, I suppose?

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