Writer’s Brain on Hiatus

You might not remember the Buffy episode where the evil bar guy made beer that turned college kids into cavemen, but I do. One of my favorite lines from that episode (in a series chock full of them) had Buffy saying, “Boys bad. Fire pretty.” It pointed up her extremely limited brain function due to the beer she’d consumed to drown her broken heart.

That’s how I feel right now, after turning in my last pass to my editor. Extremely limited brain function. When I finally stumbled out of bed this morning, my hair standing on end and my jammies awry, my showered, shaved, yummy-smelling and ready-for-the-office husband had the temerity to actually talk to me. This is how our conversation went.

Him: Sorry I didn’t get to the laundry over the weekend. Think you’ll have time today?Me: Laundry bad. Him: I’m running late. Make me a double espresso please? Me: Coffee good. Him: Oh, and sort the bills for me, I won’t have time to do it until Thursday. Me: Bills bad.

My eldest son had to play, too. Son: Can you pick me up from school, Mom? My bike has a flat tire. Me: Bike bad. Son: Oh, and can you pick me up a spare inner tube? Me: Son bad. Son: I love you, Mom. Me: Son pretty.

By the time everyone left the house, my head hurt from having to make such civilized conversation. It’s not just that editing takes a lot out of a writer. Making changes that you know need to be made, and finding every last variation on the word “nod” and changing it up so you don’t have a novel full of bobble-heads is wearying, after all.

But turning in last edits is also an emptying-out of your brain. Kind of like after giving birth – that alien in your body is gone and it’s just you again. Except for writers, there’s usually another alien in your head just waiting to be developed, and that’s where the writer’s brain goes into limited function mode.

The writer’s brain is scared. It’s not sure it has what it takes to write the next book. It’s not even sure it should be reading. The writer’s brain, at this point in the process, is pretty sure it should be relaxing on a tropical beach somewhere with an umbrella drink close by. Either that, or numbing itself in front of the TV, watching episode after episode of any of the “Desperate Housewives of” reality series. Enough hours of that inanity practically ensures your brain will spontaneously hit the refresh button and start spouting out story ideas and concepts, just to get away from the TV screen.

It’s not like I’m starting a new project right now, either. I’ve got a YA that I’ll be going into a workshop with (given by the Andrea Brown Agency – check it out here). I’ve got homework on that one.

I’ve also got a second book due to Crescent Moon Press and, since I’d like that second book to come out this year if possible, I really need to finish it, run it through a crit group, do a second draft and a third pass (to get rid of those nagging “nod”s) and get it to them soon.

But still, the brain stalls. For me, the tropical beach and the umbrella drink is out of the question. I can’t even sit in the sun – it’s too chilly for this girl out there today. The Housewives have no real appeal, either. I guess I’ll hunker down and dig my bedroom out from under the piles of laundry, clean the kitchen, and eventually drive off to pick up my son from college.

Wow, does that sound boring in contrast to dealing with a whip-wielding sorcerer, a tribred hero who just wants to be left alone, and a bunch of demons who look remarkably like badgers washing up dead on the beaches of Santa Monica.

Laundry bad…