|The Our Lost Jungle CB Challenge: "Sleep On It"|
Today’s task is to have a “sleepover” with your chapbook’s 30 pages. Unlike a typical sleepover, which involves spending time with your guests, this task calls for you to … ignore. Set aside. Sleep on it. Your task is simply to put your work away and not think about it for at least 24 hours.
There are three key reasons sleeping on a chapbook collection is an important step in what we’re doing during this challenge. Let’s briefly take a look at each!
feelings … whoa, whoa, whoa
Sleeping on your chapbook selection allows your initial feelings toward your work to simmer and marinate. When it comes to how you feel about your chapbook, you don’t want to be overly critical of your work. It’s easy to look at the pages you’ve gathered and start thinking that it’s all, to put it mildly, garbage. Sleeping on it gives you time to accept that the work you have is worth working with. You also don’t want to be overly protective of your work. Pieces you love are often harder to edit, revise, or place honestly. Sleeping on it gives you time to accept that the work you have isn’t perfect, and can still be played with.
Sleeping on your chapbook selection also allows you to “shift gears” when it comes to the role you’re playing with your work. It’s important to understand the difference between the work of the author and the editor of your work. As an author, it’s your job to write the work and lay the foundation for the complete work to come. As an editor, your goal is to build the framework for your chapbook and ensure that the foundation is structurally sound. And here’s the thing … You can’t wear both hats* at the same time. Don’t try to! By sleeping on your work, you allow yourself to more gradually change hats.
celebrate good times come on
Finally, sleeping on your chapbook selection allows some of the initial stress of starting a chapbook to wane. Give yourself at least a night off from the work of chapbook-ing. Furthermore, take that time to celebrate the work you’ve accomplished! You’ve taken a ton of work and weaned it down to 30 pages. You’ve sorted your work into manageable themes, topics, or potential collections. You’ve done a lot already! Sleeping on the chapbook grants you a little more room to revitalize yourself after this work, so that you can be eager—rather than anxious—to proceed!
While you sleep on your chapbook, I’d encourage you to spend the time on relatively stress-free activities that will still inspire and energize you. Read through a few new chapbooks or collections in the genre you’re working in. Reread one of, or a few of, your favorite chapbooks. Go for walks, if that’s what inspires you. Or maybe you’re like me and the very act of not working on your writing makes you all the more eager to get back to it! The one goal of the next day or two is simply to give yourself a break from what you’ve done so far. Enjoy it, and enjoy the anticipation of getting started with the structural organization of your chapbook on Wednesday!
*Note: Thanks to S.E. Ingraham for catching a typo. Under "shifting gears," it should read "You can't wear both hats" ... not "hates."
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Join in the Our Lost Jungle Chapbook ("CB") Challenge!