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.
LOL! This made my day! I can sooo relate. My book Wayward Soul was released last Tuesday and my brain is still at low capacity;))
Thanks, Kim! BTW, I just picked up your book and will start it tonight – looking forward to it! GREAT cover!
Now that was some funny stuff.
I remember that ep of Buffy (LOVEloveLOVE Buffy, btw). I’m totally with you. Laundry bad. Dishes bad. Vacuuming bad. Cleaning bad….
Guess I’d better just write. 😉
Well Laura, those are all things I do when I’m procrastinating – otherwise I’d never get a clean – wait a minute, I still don’t get a clean house…never mind!
Buffy is my favorite TV show, so I do remember the Beer episode. You describe perfectly how it feels after sending in revisions. Thanks for letting me know it wasn’t just me who felt that way!
I LOVE BUFFY! I Miss the show terribly – it’s not even on during the day any more. Sniff…
Actually Traci, I think it’s stronger for those of us who are just letting our first darlings out into the world. A few deep breaths and we’ll be ready to start the next one, right?
Hey, I resemble that statement! (That’s an old Norm Crosby line)
Yeah, I can totally relate. Went through the last galley pass over the past few days for one of my upcoming e-books. Still found stuff. I swear, the word fairies sneak into our books and add stuff between edits.
I’m in a total slump today, yet got the bright idea to tell another editor I was thinking of submitting something. Now, she wants to see whatever I’m dying to write. Well, the only part of that sentence I can relate to today is “dying”. I’m pooped!
Good luck on all counts, Christine! P.S. since you missed Sunday’s meeting, I wrote up what I learned over at my blog.
As soon as I get the energy, Lynne, I’ll run over to your blog and get caught up. Let me know when you want to get together and have coffee and brainstorming time!
Hi Christine (how many Christine’s are in LARA?)
I’ve never been through the editing process (still working on my first manuscript), but I recently sat in front of the computer for 15 straight hours and “cavemanish” is the perfect way to describe how I felt when I was done. 7 of those 15 hrs were spent admiring how white the screen was…lol Though, I have to admit, I sort of like that feeling. It makes me feel like a “real writer” (newbie insecurity I suppose).
Oh, and I miss Buffy!!! God I LOVED Spike like no other!!!
Hey, Christine! Apparently, we needed one more Christine to make up a triumvirate!
Keep writing that book, girl. But give your body a break and stand and walk about every 30 to 45 minutes or so. Your back will be glad you did!
Me miss Buffy…and Spike…
Oh, I remember the editing I went though, I was wiped. I felt like a run-out old dishrag.
Good luck with the new book. Laundry bad.
Laundry VERY bad! Until no panties can be found – and hubby gets annoyed when I borrow his boxers, lol!
I remember that Buffy episode! LOL! Great post.
One of the other LARA Christine’s here to say–I am in mid edits on one novella and short story edits due on its heels. The words might not be visibly oozing out my ears but it took me a good two minutes to think of the word ‘loyalty’ this afternoon. Not exactly a deep thesaurus entry to be sure.
Please get some well deserved R&R m’dear. and congrats on the successful edits.
Almost completed a novella edits with another short story due on its heels. The words are not visibly oozing out my ears but it did take me two full minutes to think of the word “loyalty” this morning. Not exactly a difficult thesaurus entry.
Please take some well earned R&R
Congrats on the successful edits
No time for rest, girlfriend! Well, except for today – circumstances had me away from the computer quite a bit…
Best of luck with your edits!
I loved this post, because I’m almost to the same point you are in and I can feel my brain breaking. Buffy episode was hilarious and you caught the voice perfectly. In a week, you’ll be back to yourself. I have faith. BTW, cheering that you finished. ^&%$#$%## Those are my cheers!!!! I so can’t wait to read this book!
I’m sure Piper’s giving you hell right now and I can so sympathize. Hang in there girlie – we’ll celebrate when you turn yours in!
I miss Buffy.
Especially right now, when I’m just coming into the last week of edits, and my brain is getting ready to disappear off through my ear to go on holiday without me if I don’t hit my deadline!
Back to the manuscript…
Hang in there, Sophie! You can do it!
You described this really well, Christine. I am always surprised by how “down” I feel after finishing a book. I would almost call it depression, except that finishing a book is a good thing, right?
There’s a pervasive emptiness that sits inside me for a little while. I find that cranking the music loud and cleaning out closets is very helpful. And within a few days, usually while driving, I get blindsided by a new idea that gets my brain rocking again.
Congratulations, btw, it’s a book!
Thanks, Suzanne! I’ll have to try the cleaning closets trick…