Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Big Fat Lie

Yes, there is such a thing.
Yes, a writer can be bored. Says she, staring into the middle distance, while her brain is taking a hike.

There is no day as terrible as the day after submitting a novel. I have this habit of powering through the edits as if my life depends on it. It's a huge task, and I work day and night to get it done. I can't wait to get rid of the novel. Once the writing is finished, I want it edited, polished, and sent off within days.

I know; I'm crazy. I know, I should take a timeout after finishing the writing, hang out my brain to air, go downtown on a shopping trip, take a vacation. 
Thing is, it doesn't work for me. I'm a bit OCD that way. A novel isn't finished until it's edited and submitted.
So that's what I did during the past five days: I edited.
I'm one of those authors who are slow writers, who edit as they write. I learned to do that after The Distant Shore, after I spent weeks editing it, and cutting it down from its original 400K words to a more professional 135K, which were then accepted by the publisher,

Submitting a novel is a moment that I love, and dread.
I love it, because it means I've written another book (duh. I know.)
I hate it because I have no idea what to do with myself once I press "send".
Because the moment I do that, the moment it's sent off, boredom sets in.

See, I lied to my publisher. I told them – and I said it with conviction, too – that I didn't need to write. That I could, in fact, stop anytime, and still enjoy my life.
That's the lie.
The manuscript of The Rosewood Guitar left the house last night, just before midnight. Now it's noon, the following day, and already I'm bored.
I could clean the kitchen cupboards. Lord knows they need it. Or I could iron my hubby's shirts. Only he's so used to wearing them unironed by now, he'd probably faint.
I could… oh, I don't know. I could learn a new language, experiment with baking (not a good idea; trust me), or I could start knitting baby clothes for a future grandchild who is still only an idea in God's mind.

Or I could start writing a new novel, and prove my publisher right.
They told me that I wouldn't be able to be without writing, and they didn't even laugh, saying it.
I could pretend it's not really a novel, but just some writerly experiment, like, you know, I'm trying to see if I could write science fiction.
In fact, I don't even have to tell them that I'm starting a new project at all. Instead, I could just say that I'm doing nothing, and that I'm bored.
I have a feeling they'd see through me, but who cares.
They'd probably also tell me to start working on the blog posts for the blog hop this summer, when we release my third book:

But it's not the same. Blog posts are not novels.
Writing blog posts is a chore, writing a novel is a way of life. My way of life.
Which means there's really only one thing to do.

Let me open Scrivener. Let me set up a file, and create a folder with a new title. Someone make coffee please, and turn on the heating in my study.
I'll see you in three months.


  1. I get this. Absolutely and one hundred percent.

  2. I don't iron shirts either - a big shake sorts them out. Although, I think I'd be able to not write just for a while...

    1. I'm not really writing right now, Annalisa, unless you count this blog post. But I'm getting antsy to get back. :)

  3. We don't want you to be bored, so maybe you'd better write. I'll even volunteer to read it. No, don't thank me.