Going through my magazine pile recently, I found an article in the Romance Writers Report (April 2014)* by Holly Jacobs about Sunday Books. Rather than writing that is contracted or scheduled in the 5-year career plan, a Sunday Book represents a story that is written for fun, for the joy of writing, and/or for the chance to try something completely different. It may ultimately wind up in print, like Jacobs’ Just One Thing, but the pleasure of writing is the real goal. She referenced several other authors in her article that write Sunday Books as well.
“I hate having to say no to my ‘story generator.’ That part of my brain might shut down if I don’t use the ideas it gives me. . .” ~ Susan Meier (RWR April 2014)
I like the idea of having a story that you’re working on just for fun, in the midst of whatever other writing is going on. In my day job, I always have multiple projects going on at the same time. When there is a break in the action (or a roadblock) in one project, there is always something to be done on a different one. Sometimes, the work on one project will generate ideas applicable somewhere else or point towards a previously un-thought of solution. Different projects also require different skills and give me a chance to flex different mental muscles. It makes sense that this would also apply to writing.
Over the past year, my writing was stuck in a single-track as I focused on reaching ‘The End’ of my work in progress. I had a lot of new story ideas during that time, but they all wound up gathering dust as I doggedly kept plugging away on the WIP. Holly’s article caused me to rethink that plan and make time to work on some Sunday Stories of my own. I’m already seeing the benefit (besides the creation of some new stories 🙂 ). Taking a break now and again to work on something completely different has allowed me to step back and look at my WIP with fresh eyes. I’ve been able to work out a few plot-black-holes and have generated new ideas for solving some nagging problems. As a plus, I no longer feel like the story ideas my brain likes to throw out at random times are completely going to waste (at least not all of them).
I’m currently polishing up one of my recent Sunday Stories to submit to the RWA for consideration for their upcoming short story anthology about ‘second chances.’
He’s tall, dark, and damaged and she’s got trust issues. Their first attempt at happily ever after was a crash and burn, but when they’re unexpectedly trapped together at a week-long family gathering, they have a chance to rewrite their ending.
I’ll let you know in May how that all works out. Having the story accepted would be icing on the cake, but the real treat was getting it out of my head and on the page. The contemporary story features Molly and Sam, who were a lot of fun to write, and a nice change of pace from Regency Michael and Abigail.
So, do you have something you’re writing (or doing) that’s just for fun?
* Note: Though the Romance Writers Report is accessible to members only, you can find a related article by Holly Jacobs on the Contemporary Romance Cafe website here.