by Mairi Norris
Authors love to write.
One might think this goes without saying, and one would be correct. We write because we love it, because we need to write. From the romantic viewpoint, our souls starve without indulging in the creativity of transcribing the stories in our hearts onto the printed or digital page. On the practical side, it’s also drummed into us that the more books we write (and the faster), the better.
Why then would an author take a five month break from the craft they love so much? There are many reasons, but I took mine simply because I needed it and because my next book is a low-fantasy medieval romance requiring months of world-building. During that time, while my ‘creative juices’ quietly worked their way through everything from names and personalities for the characters to the new world’s science, technology, foods, morals, social structure, etc., my husband and I took some ‘time off’ and I worked to finish a major personal project.
While we could not at this time take a true ‘vacation’, we did visit some nearby places we’d not been to before. These included Bacon’s Castle, a 17th c. plantation house associated with the rebellion of the patriot Nathanial Bacon, and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. These gardens are a place of utter magic. The Victorian style, domed glass conservatory enchanted me, especially the ‘butterfly house’ section. We bought lifetime membership and plan to make seasonal visits whenever possible.
The major project I worked on was part of my hobby, dollhouse miniatures, and encompassed the creation of a large antique mall in 1/12 scale [1”=1’] I’ve named Bygone Elegance. I’ve now completed most of the construction and interior decorating of the store. Filling it with miniature ‘antiques’ comes next – but not until after I finish my next book.
Yes, the hiatus from writing was needful and refreshed mind, soul, and spirit. Now I am excited and ‘champing at the bit’ to return to writing and the enjoyment of creating a new medieval fantasy world – but for those of you who love ‘real world’ medieval, don’t worry. The world I’m building won’t be all that different from our real world in the 16th century. If all goes well, the book will be ready for a Christmas release.
So, if your favorite writer drops off the scene for a while, consider he or she might be indulging in a rest from creating. Eventually, the need comes to all of us, but it usually results in even better stories for our readers.