I was at a bar the other night (Shock!), when I made a break-through realization. (Wait for it.)

I was at a bar in Portland called Eastburn, working on a future post for this blog. Now generally, I hate working at Eastburn, because there are usually patrons who are a bit too abrosive. (Note: that is not a spelling mistake. I am talking about the college “bro” who is constantly over my shoulder, screaming at a television.) However on this particular night, the bar was empty of birthday parties and chugging contests. All in all, a nice quiet night, where I was able to work in peace.

The bartender approached my side of the bar, noticing my near empty beer. She asked the usual, “Need another?” I did want another. However, she was expecting me to order the same type of beer, and I did not want the same type of beer. I wanted something different, something I had never had before. I perused the decently-sized beer list before ordering a different type of beer altogether. (I am huge fan of IPAs, but have been known to appreciate most other types of beer.)

The bartender walked over to the wall of tap handles and began pouring my new selection.

I considered all of the other types of alcohol I drink. I try different types of alcohol, because I love the variety, the anticipation that comes with drinking something new.

Here is where I made the break-through. The same goes for my writing work day.

I enjoy working on the novel. I appreciate the characters I have created and the story is interesting to write. This does not change the fact that I need to spend time with other characters. About once a month or so, I will stray from working on the novel for a couple of days, and instead, I will create new characters in new scenarios. These usually turn into short stories, but sometimes they amount to nothing.

I enjoy beer. I also enjoy the company of gin martinis and bourbon and red wine (and the occasional white) and on a sunny day, I will drink a vodka tonic.

The bartender set the carmel-colored beer in front of me and turned back towards her magazine. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

I can grow tired with working on the same chapter for three weeks, and the same goes for drinking. I grow bored with drinking martini after martini (despite their deliciousness).

Before I began working on the novel, I spent my work days writing short stories (a path every writer takes). I would usually be working on three or four stories at any given time. My mood for the day would determine which story I worked on. For the first six months that I worked on the novel, I did no writing. I spent my time doing research, storyboarding, or character development. This meant that when I wanted to write, I wrote something completely unrelated to the novel. However, once I dove into the novel, I missed the time I spent getting to know so many different characters. The first month of writing went well, but it plateaued.

I decided to take a break.

I spent my work day, editing a different story altogether. When I came back to the novel, I was refreshed. I had new ideas. Writing the novel was easier than before, and I am told that the story I worked on will be appearing in Vol. V of The (&). It was a complete success. Taking that break made all of the difference.

I still work on different stories when work with the novel gets tedious. It reminds me how much I enjoy writing the novel. It reminds me of how much I’ll miss my characters when it is finished.

As I sipped on the new beer, altogether different from its predecessor, I wondered if it was time to go home. I enjoyed the new beer, but I yearned to get back to the beer previous. I decided to go home and drink a martini. I could always come back the next day and order an IPA.