18 October 2013

Post Book Stress Disorder

I know, I know, I said I would blog on Monday. I forgot that I also had to work thirteen hours that day. Yeah, that was fun. I don't really have an excuse for the other days, except maybe exhaustion.

Anyway, I feel like I'm having some sort of anxiety attack. And I have no idea why. I don't think it's because I have to go back to work tomorrow for a twelve hour shift. It might be because I feel like I've wasted my two days off, not accomplishing much besides watching a couple movies and a trip to Wal-Mart. It might also be because I have no idea what to do next.

Maybe this is all subconscious. Maybe being in the stage where my book wasn't finished was a safe place. Now I have the daunting task of editing, then query letters, then rejections. It's terrifying.

But this is supposed to be a happy time! And it is, really. I'm glad the book is done. I suppose I should start with the tale of how I finished. Last Friday, a miracle occurred, and not in that I finished the book, but that I had the day off. Since my boyfriend was going out, mostly my plans consisted of eating leftover chicken tacos and watching a movie on demand that I'd been dying to see. But I also figured I had time for writing.

Back during my vacation in July, I discovered the magical Twitter hashtag that is #writeclub (check out the website here). At the time, a small group of writers were using it nightly, but its real purpose is for Friday nights. This is when writers get together and write for 30 minute sprints, not stopping until time is up. It runs for at least twelve hours, starting at 7 PM UK time. So that's 2 PM for me. And I thought I'd get an early start in the afternoon, then do my planned activities and get back to writing late night when my inspiration is really at its best.

What I didn't plan for was the muse being so active. On the first sprint I joined, I stared at the blank screen for at least five minutes. I couldn't think of how to start my last chapter. Then I thought to myself, "It isn't going well." And then I typed it. And it just seemed to work. It's exactly how Jordan feels at this point in the book, about his relationship, about his life in general. This sparked a whole scene in my head, a discussion with his best friend, Eric, who usually ends up being unintentionally insightful. And so the words started flowing.

And I just kept writing. I only stopped once to have dinner (yes, tacos). I never watched my movie. The breaks between the writing sprints were agonizing because I just wanted to keep going. I would cheat and write a few sentences when I wasn't supposed to be writing at all. And, by some other miracle, at exactly ten minutes before midnight, I typed out the last line. At this moment, I think I had a good panic attack. I couldn't breathe for a moment. The last line, which I had never once envisioned, was perfect. The ending was heartfelt and sad, but real. The sex scene, which certainly wasn't perfect, still had a good balance of vagueness to vulgarity. You only know what the narrator is comfortable telling you. All in all, it was a good wrap up for the entire novel, the main theme saying not that you should embrace every aspect of who you are, but that you are helpless to fight it. I know, it's a bit daunting, but while it's not a happy ending, it is an ending of acceptance.

So it was done. First my Twitter account was bombarded with congratulations, then after I announced the event on Facebook, several coworkers offered their support over the next few days. Of course, it was often followed by the inevitable, "what's your book about???" that I'm always too terrified to answer. But that's probably another issue entirely.

Well now it's been a week. I've let the joy settle and now I'm really starting to think about editing and finally deciding on a title. It goes between excitement and mind-numbing fear. And that's probably why I'm stressed out. I know I should also be plotting out my NaNo book, but part of me also just wants to write it out of thin air once November 1 hits. I'd love to join #writeclub tonight, but I don't actually have anything to write. Just a whole lot of editing. I do want to also write a brief synopsis that I can post on here so that my readers can actually know what the book is about besides all my constant vague references.

So I've got editing, I've got NaNo. I want to write poetry again and even personal essays. There's a lot to do. Strangely enough, I think the last two sentences of my novel are quite appropriate, despite the fact that there's still a lot of work to do, and I'll never really move on:

What's left, anyway, after something is complete? You just move on to the next thing. 


  1. I'm so happy that you finished your draft!! that is a big deal. I completely understand the way you feel. The anxiety. It is a daunting task. I have become much more comfortable with my first draft... but when it comes to editing, that is where my fear used to reside. When you draft, you have the safety net of knowing that there is an edit in the future. But once you sit down to edit, the pressure to be brilliant begins to close in.
    It took me years to learn to edit in phases. and I still am imperfect. :) But I love the learning process, and am getting better at dancing around the anxiety.

    Good luck! And I shall check out #writeclub!!

    P.S. this 45 min video on the editing process by Dave Farland/Wolverton (one of Stephanie Meyer's teachers I believe for BYU) Has helped me TREMENDOUSLY.

    Also the book Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver is BRILLIANT at perspective on the page. I was skeptical, but I devoured this book!!


    1. oops.. forgot to link to the video! LOL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4oyePYhuEI&feature=share&list=PLbhPu40QqOwPXA2mzcF9sJNTBaab1BMeI

    2. Thanks! It took me forever. I hope the editing goes a bit more quickly. I'll definitely check out that video (when I have 45 minutes to spare...)

  2. Congrats! You deserve a week to rest up (or at least a rest from writing). That's certainly an apt last line - and who knows if we ever "completely" complete anything? I know I greatly prefer the first draft. Feels a lot more free. I've got editing and NaNo, too. Want to buddy up?

    1. I think now that I've had a little break, I really want to start editing. I think the first draft really is more fun--it's more about getting the ideas out than getting it perfect.

      I just added you on the NaNo site! I need more buddies. :)