My writing time-out crumbled last night when a scene I'd been puzzling over suddenly began re-writing itself in my head. I couldn't bear to type it out on my phone (as I'd been doing with other lightening bolts that struck during my step back), so I flew to my laptop and opened my story for the first time in three weeks.
After working on my novel, a fairy-tale retelling of The Princess and the Pea, for six months straight, a step back was just what I needed. My break coincided perfectly with the holidays (impeccable, though accidental, planning on my part). As I took a breather to enjoy being with my family, I was surprised to find that my story stayed right where I'd left it.
Too often I feel that if I don't spend every spare second on my WIP, it will somehow leave me. Like it must be paid constant attention in order to make it real. But taking a little break from my lovely WIP has taught me that it's not going anywhere. And though I still feel compelled to finish it, I now know it's okay to come up for air. And at this point in my story (done, but not query-ready) the air was absolutely necessary.
I've gotten some great feedback from beta readers. My mind is sharp and I'm seeing things with new clarity. Plot issues I struggled with a month ago are now being worked out in my mind. Plus, reading several books during my break has given me new confidence. My book is not yet as amazing as they are, but I feel like it's within reach. I'm close.
And that's an exciting thing.