I’m going to start this series off with something a little more personal. There’s this ritual I’ve gone through once a year for the past five or so… I write a book- or even the draft of a book- I take a deep breath and then start to panic about what I do next. Then, I start to hate myself, and everything I’ve ever written. I’ve come to call it author self-loathing. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t write why this is such a big deal… most of the people in my life think I’m crazy to want to write so much and I’m sure it drives them more than crazy when I go into this fit of despair.
This past month, I finished the third and final installment of the Wasted series… I use the term finish in the LOOSEST of senses because it’s just a second draft, it hasn’t even been okay’d by my publisher, there’s no release date and it needs pretty much all the editing ever… I mean, I may have already come up with a cover concept- so what?
However, I still feel like I ended a story line… the story line. THE series I’ve spent five years writing. Ending a book is a combination of panic, relief, love and hate… it’s a conundrum of feelings that every author has to figure out once it’s written. So… what happens to me once I finish a novel and send it to my editor?
This happens every time. I immediately begin making notes in one of my 10 notebooks about what I did wrong, possible plot holes and characters who need work. I don’t even consider the 100 thousand plus words I wrote and the months it took. I seriously debate writing my editor and telling her to just not bother reading it… wasting not only my time, but the time of close friends I’ve managed to annoy with my plot line discussions. Logical.
Finishing a book is kind of like PMSing… suddenly I just want anything and everything deep fried, covered in chocolate, or dripping with cheese to be in my face. I like to call this game the 4000 calorie hatred spiral. I don’t know why this happens- probably because there’s a level of depression associated with the lack of self-confidence in finishing a draft and waiting for your editor to tell you if it sucks or not… or I just want an excuse to tackle half of my dessert board on Pinterest.
There’s nothing like a slightly inconvenienced author being forced into a social setting and asked to think about something other than her writing . I used to think this was just me being a bitch, but turns out… a lot of authors I’ve talked to hate dealing with people- especially right after the massive brain energy spent on writing a book. I don’t mean to make spending time with my loved ones and friends sound like a chore… it’s not. In small doses- everything is fine… but throw me into a large gathering or have someone come to me with their own problems and I just want to run away screaming. It’s not because I’m unhappy- I’m actually really stoked that I accomplished something major… and I show it with chronic bitch face.
Why, why WHY doesn’t anyone else get what I’m going through? Because… they can’t. No one can- not even other authors. The need to be alone, the compulsive want to over-analyze my own word, the worry, the panic, the sheer anxiety. Sure, this screams therapist… but even she wouldn’t get it! So, I just kind of sit back and glare at everyone… convinced that’s it’s them- not me.
Yeah, it happens. That mixture of jealousy, impatience, mild narcissism and borderline crazy isn’t something an author can stop… I get into this place where I feel like:
I feel like there isn’t much of a place to fit in with a few contract killing lunatics with a pension for wine… then a few will come along and prove me wrong. SEE ALSO: Rebekah Crane. Sometimes I wonder if I’d even be half the author I am without her guidance.
I cry… for no reason. My mother used to tell me only to cry when you’re sad, happy or physically hurting. NOT THE CASE HERE. Crying because you’re frustrated is the biggest waste of time and I love doing it. It’s kind of like emotional cutting. It basically solves nothing- it gives me a headache and makes my husband think I’m bat shit cray… but at least he’s in training to deal with it. I call this portion the wedding vow test.
What’s this sound like? I’m a shitty writer who needs instant gratification… not all the time, but just now, in this moment when I finished something big. OKAY, NOW WHAT? Give me fame, and fortune… and a swift kick in the CUNextTuesday. Nothing happens overnight, but when you finish a book, it seems like it should. No joke… it’s like I lean back and expect David Bowie- complete in Labyrinth costume- to appear and grant me three wishes for finishing a book that no one is even required to like. When it doesn’t happen… I hate myself. It’s fine. #ITSFINE
Write something else: much to the frustration of my husband, I just start writing something else. Bless his heart for putting up with me. He’s really good about supporting my dream, but he will flat out tell me I can’t write all day every day… HA… like hell I can’t. I mean I CAN… I just shouldn’t. For the sake of those closest to me… however, I did celebrate the ending of one series with the start of another. Something different. Different genre, different writing style (kind of) and it made me feel better. It will make me feel better until I finish it. Then… this shit starts all over again…
So, now I’ve gone through (yet again) another series of self loathing… and with the help of my friends and family (and watching the Stepford Wives remake)- I’ve made it through. I’m now smiling… because I accomplished stuff. Now, I’ll start obsessing over cover art, changing cover art and re-branding. #ITSFINE In the end, I’ve still written another book.
No wine pairing for this post… however, everyone likes a good Sangria.
Support my writing and buy my first book: ELEGANTLY WASTED
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