Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Come to the Dark Side...It's Fun!

Maven Darcy BurkeI've crossed over to the dark side. Yesterday we bought a mini-van. I swore I'd never live in Suburban Hell (sure do!) or own a mini-van (double check!) What has become of me? I'm a blah-blah-blah old soccer mom (tripe check, my first grade daughter plays soccer and what's husband is the coach) who just happens to write historical romantic fiction (okay, that last part is pretty cool). So now that I have a mini-van, have I irrevocably thrown myself into the abyss?

You be the judge. Here are some other things I've done recently that somehow defy logic (at least the logic I thought would pertain to my life at this point):

-Clean and organize more than is "normal." (Note: this does not mean I live in House Beautiful, it simply means I live in House Unchaotic, which is a feat in itself.)
-Slavishly watch American Idol and even vote for a favorite contestant (hold on a sec while I dial).
-Regularly post on a chat board regarding said American Idol contestant as well as my other two favorite reality shows: The Amazing Race and Survivor.
-Wear more eye makeup than I've done since college.
-Wear burgundy-black polish on my toenails (and they look awesome!).
-Choose to do almost anything other than write (includes all writing-related tasks) without regret.

I have a good excuse (I hope). I took April pretty much off from writing while Her Wicked Ways percolated. I did work on plot points for my next book, The Tale of Gideon (that's the working title, but I need to find a better one so I can put a blurb on my website - perhaps I'll have a contest soon...) and started revising HWW maybe ten days ago. But revising isn't the same as powering through a first draft. During January and February, I had this driving need to sit and write as much as possible to get to The End (much like reading a really good book), even when I was stuck for a day or two. Every waking moment could have been (and probably was) filled with thinking about the story. Now that I'm not consumed with writing a story, my brain has more time to accept the temptations of the dark side.

You probably think I'm silly. It's not as if I'm out getting a tattoo or piercing my navel (for the record, I have a tiny tattoo on my ankle - my daughter calls it a "stamp" - and the thought of piercing anything other than my ears makes me squinchy). I'm just not consumed with writing (hmmm, and maybe I feel guilty about that?) A lot of us post about procrastinatory activities and how they're bad, but I'm allowing myself to slack off and embrace this period of unproductivity. I'm more than allowing it, I'm enjoying it.

How do you embrace the dark side? What do you do in your Between Books Phase? Do you allow yourself to be a slacker, if only for a day? And, tell us, what do you do when you joyfully slack?


Erica Ridley said...

Man have I ever been a slacker lately. My excuse is an endless flow of houseguests, broken only by an endless series of out-of-state travel. So not conducive to free time. But even though said insanity won't end until late July, I'm thinking I've allowed it to rule me long enough, and I should climb back on the writing wagon.

The major plus side to just living life is having that much richer a well of experience to draw from as a writer. And man has my life been an experience lately...

Jackie Barbosa said...

Everyone needs time off, even from writing. I give myself permission NOT to write when I'm between projects and even sometimes in the middle of one if I reach an emotional wall in a story.

And hey, there's nothing wrong with having a minivan, although like you, I swore for a long time I wouldn't "go there." Three kids changed my mind :). Let me tell you, being able to put the younger two (who would pester each other CONSTANTLY back then and still do from time to time) in two separate rows freed up all sorts of brain space for other things (not to mention probably preventing numerous accidents).

As to what I do when I'm not writing, though--I'd have to say mostly the same things I do when I am. Which is to say surf the Internet, check email every five minutes, and watch reruns of every Law & Order series known to the hand of man. Sheesh, I need a life :).

lacey kaye said...

A lot of us post about procrastinatory activities and how they're bad, but I'm allowing myself to slack off and embrace this period of unproductivity. I'm more than allowing it, I'm enjoying it.


Yes, this is probably one of those things where I'm happy you're behaving like me so I don't have to feel guilty about not behaving like you. But all those months of you sleeping and breathing writing while Maven Erica and I could barely stand to hold a pen...HA-HA!

Sooooo delicious to be so bad, isn't it? And, of course, I totally agree with Maven Erica. It's all research, baby.

lacey kaye said...

Oh, and also like Maven Erica, I've been writing lately. *Almost* have that scene done. (Only been working on it for a month...)

Bill Clark said...

tripe check

Something every writer should do regularly! :-)

The major plus side to just living life is having that much richer a well of experience to draw from as a writer. And man has my life been an experience lately...

As usual, Maven Erica not only comes up with my favorite procrastinatory rationalization, but puts it much better than I ever could. *g)

Darcy Burke said...

Bill, thanks so much for pointing out my typo. You do that to us Mavens a lot. Maybe it's time you take the English teacher hat off and just enjoy the post.

LOL, Maven Lacey. Yes, Maven Erica you could write all sorts of excellent stories! Jackie, L&O, really? We call it Accuse and Argue at our house because the cops accuse everyone with little evidence and then the lawyers argue with the judges! (With impunity most of the time - such a fantasy show!) And I lurve my mini-van with the fire of a thousand suns.

Bill Clark said...

Hi, Darcy,

It seems to be my day for offending people. Please know it wasn't intentional.

My attempts at humor have been backfiring these last couple of days. Cyberspace can be notoriously tricky that way, as we all know; you can't read a person's face or hear their tone of voice to try to gauge their intentions. What might work as a joke in a face-to-face conversation can come off very differently in pixels on a screen.

I think I'll lie low for a bit and make an appointment to have my funnybone checked.

Kendra said...

A minivan? Never, never, never. Although I have thought about trading in my suburban beast for somethng that gets better than 12 MPG.

Did you vote for David Cook?

I'm slacking, too. I've got major revisions to do and can't seem to get my brain back in the right time zone.

Darcy Burke said...

Kendra, I'll tempt you with my mini-van. You'll see! Of course I voted for Cook. The only other season I stuck with this show for this long was season two with Clay and Ruben. I'm usually bored stiff by the time we get to the top ten.

Anonymous said...

I don't consider unChaosing a form of procrastination. I get much more done is a calm environment.

I, too, swore I would never drive a mini-van. I drove SUV's for years. After being forced to drive one for three years, I was elated to hget rid of it. Now? I find I miss the space.

You must fill the creative well. That's not procrastinating, it's percolating. Totally different vibe.

Angie Fox said...

I just read your minivan comments to my husband, who swears we'll never own one. I think it's just a matter of time...

And I find reading is a great way to take time between books. That and computer games. They're addicting, but fun.

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