Monday, February 4, 2013

My Least Favorite Part of Writing

Is stopping.

Now, I'm not one of those people who say that they can't live without writing. Believe me, I envy those people who say they'd die if they couldn't write (I envy them, and I suspect them of hyperbole.) To be so overwhelmingly consumed by your art that you think you'd expire without being able to do it, that seems like a level of passion I can only aspire to. I've lived just fine without writing. Yes, I've always been creative, whether it's drawing or writing or singing or other expressions of art. But I won't die if I don't write. I'd do something else.

Having said that, I hate when the writing stops. There's a natural life-cycle to writing, at least for me. There's the bloom of an idea - which is my favorite part of writing - then there's the excitement of starting the project followed by waves of elation and despair and hard work. I'd say that in the last 1/4 of writing a book, it's a job (you could argue that it's always a job, and I agree. What I mean is that it feels like a job.) But I like that part. I know that I have Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 9:30-11:30 to write my ass off. On those days, I'm raring to go. I'm Pavlovian on those days. I open up my WIP and say to myself, let's get cracking.

So when the last stage of a book's cycle - the stage when it's in the Beta's hands and from here on in it's revision, not drafting, the schedule changes. Today is Monday and I'm floundering. What do I write? Where's my writing? I'm still so mentally engaged in my book that I'm having trouble thinking of other works, even the reading I'm doing (I'm reading THE NEAR WITCH, by Victoria Schwab.)

So this is my least favorite part of writing. I need to wrench my brain and heart away from my last project and prepare for my next project. I have to decide what that will be. A revision I really need to get going on? A new, slip of an idea that might be a short story? A fully formed idea I almost developed last year instead of FIND ME, but then decided to shelve. Will it be her turn, or will I jilt her at the altar again?

I don't know. I wonder if I should do some sort of Bon Voyage party for the project that I finished.* I could invite all the characters, make a cake (Lemon Drizzle, maybe?) and mix cocktails. I can wish them luck with the strangers that will be reading and judging them in the months to come and I could make sure they pack clean underpants for their trip. I could wave my hanky at them as they sail off into the sunset. I wonder if that's a good idea or if it's just me prolonging the inevitable. It's not like I won't see them again, HELLO, REVISIONS?

What do you do when you finish a project? How do you move on to your next one?

*I say finished. I think we all know I mean kinda-finished.


  1. You almost have to go through a sort of mourning period between projects. It's a difficult transition for me sometimes. I sometimes don't write for a month or two when I've finished a novel. Takes a little time to clear the decks for a new idea, at least for me. But like you said, I won't die if I don't write. I usually find other creative outlets while I transition.

    1. LG, We should hold an Irish Wake for our characters. That way, we can eat and drink! But yeah, I feel you. The transition IS hard and (for me) so is the pressure to keep going. I make up these totally arbitrary deadlines for myself that I take way too seriously. I need to slow down!

  2. I totally get what you're saying. There's an emptiness when I finish a project and a reluctance to start a new one. That's when I binge read (up to 12 novels a week) until I'm so full I can't wait to start writing again.

  3. TWELVE NOVELS A WEEK? Holy crumpets, A - that's amazing. I can read one or two a week tops, or else my brain starts leaking out of my ears and I start calling my husband by character's names. I bow to you *bows* But yeah, I am feeling that emptiness right now and the reluctance. I just have to give myself the time I need - which I'm totally bad at!

  4. Um, can I please come to that party? I clicked on the lemon drizzle cake, and now it's all I can think about.

    I also suspect that those who say they would die without writing are being hyperbolic. Or they're a little bit insane. I agree that writing is super, super important, and it's usually my favorite thing about my day. But that doesn't mean that a life devoid of writing is a life devoid of joy. And these people who say 'if you can enjoy doing anything else, don't be a writer'? They give people a false choice, which only makes writers more crazy by making them think this is the only thing they will ever love.

    And that folks is how you turn a nice comment about lemon drizzle into a full-fledged rant.



  5. Um...more tea Vicar? No, I feel you. I sometimes think people who talk like that about art or writing or ANYTHING for that matter are employing Ye Olde Fake it till you Make it trick. If they talk passionately about it, they'll feel passionately about it. Meh. More cake, Jenny?


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