Step Away from the Manuscript


Things got a little crazy on the writing front recently, what with the Tour of Disgrace(d), along with rewrites due on a short story, another short story to be written in the next couple of months, ditto for an anthology chapter and oh, yeah, I’m way behind on the first draft of Book 5.

headexplodeMy head felt like it was exploding. All. The. Time.

The logical thing to do was Make a List, Prioritize, One Thing at a Time, Manageable Bites, blah blah blah. Except I’ve always sucked at logic. So when a friend invited me to a branding (the Montana kind, not the marketing kind), I jumped at the chance, even though it meant taking a day away from the looming deadlines.

Here’s what I learned. If you want to remove your head decisively from your … problems, go to a branding. For about eight hours, I forgot about anything and everything to do with writing.

My part, such as it was, was minimal. My friend and I stood at the open gate to the corral and shooed back any escape-minded calves edging toward it. Oh, and after someone announced a 60-year-old branding virgin in their midst, I helped hold down a couple of the smaller calves while they were being branded. I figured that earned me a piece of huckleberry pie at the feast that followed.

I gained a new respect for the ropers’ skill and that of their hard-working horses, and even more admiration for the ranchers whose work is a thousand times harder than sitting at a laptop in a warm, dry house, making stuff up.

Best of all, when I went back to the laptop the next day, the work didn’t feel so overwhelming anymore. I had a fresh perspective and some new ideas for Book 5 that I couldn’t wait to get down. Turns out a break was just what I needed.

And now, back to work.





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