Friday, December 23, 2011

Lazy and Confused

A week ago my husband did what he's often done for me in the last year. He took the kids completely off my hands so I could write. It was Sunday, so he took the girls to church. Took them to feed the ducks on the Delaware. Split up crying jags and fisticuffs. He even handled it when my older daughter's play date threatened to end in ex-bff tears.

I sat in various locales (Panera, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks) and revised and revised and revised, just like I have for the last three months. But this Sunday was different. I was so close to being finished. Usually I feel guilty about spending the entire day writing that I come home after a few hours. But not this time. I emailed my husband and told him I wouldn't be home for dinner, I'd stay out until I finished.

I did finish after about 12 hours out (disclaimer, this wasn't 12 hours of revising - I wandered, I walked, I flipped through magazines, I surfed, I stared into space.) I was in a Friendly's eating a garden burger with bacon (I know, Why? Don't ask. I eat weird things when revising) and I was thinking about the last page of my book. I read it over and over and each time I got a sense of completeness. I did (yet another) spell check, and googled 'manuscript formatting.' Finally, over chocolate chip ice cream, I realized that I was well and truly done. Every issue that I had with it, every issue that my three beta readers had with it had been addressed. There was literally nothing left to do.

I went home. My husband gave me a gin and tonic with a little paper umbrella in it, since he didn't have any champagne. I gave him an ice cream sundae. Then I went to bed.

Since then I've been at a loss. Whenever the kids are at school or at a play date I have that same pavlovian impulse - Quick! Write, you have a little time! But I don't know what to do. I'm not sending out queries until January, and I've already polished up my query letter. To tell the truth, I'm feeling both lazy and confused. Tapped out and, even if I were to force myself to write, not sure where to go.

So, here are my questions for you. What do you do when you're completely finished with one work? Do you automatically jump into something else, or do you take a little time 'off'?

And, bonus question - how do you decide what do write next? Maybe you can help me decide by voting in my poll -  I couldn't figure out how to put the poll in this blogpost, but it's over yonder in the sidebar - please chime in, the poll is up for a few days.


  1. I finished my last book and didn't start on another project for eight months. Now I've got another finished and it's been edited once. I'm not going to look at it again until spring. I'm sick of looking at it.

    Am I going to write anything between then and now aside from blog posts? I don't know. But right now it isn't likely. I never write unless I'm in the mood and frequently, I burn out.

  2. @ michael
    that's really interesting. I'm always afraid to 'stop' because I'm afraid I won't start again. but I do feel burnt out. I'm also not so secretly jealous of those writers who write book after book, sometimes several books at once. makes me want to take a nap! I guess I just have to figure out what works for me.

  3. Sounds like an excellent time to take a small break over the holidays! Not an expert, as I am still struggling through my first book. My poetry helps me fill the gaps that arise from time to time.

    Congrats on your finishing the manuscript and hoping you the very best!

    And the best of the season to you and yours!

  4. I definitely think it sounds like a break is in order. Thinking time counts too :-)

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