I’m writing something different this week, because I’m giddy with relief. The work in progress is finished!!! At least the initial stage. No doubt there will be revisions, which is good. It gives me a second chance to fix.
But I finally know how it ends. I finally know who the villain is. And I finally know who switched the babies at birth.
I am, though, a basket case, the usual climax of a night-and-day frantic writing marathon when sleep is non-existent and panic very, very real. It almost always happens as I finish a book.
I always tell myself I’m not going to do this again. I will start early, work hard every day, do anything to avoid the seven or eight or ten-day workathon during which I live on canned corn beef hash twice a day, pots of coffee and little or no sleep.
I thought I would manage better this time. Because of family illness, I was very, very late on the last two books. I was determined not to do the same this time. I was going to make the deadline if it killed me.
I am here to tell you it almost did. Just six weeks ago, I truly thought I would finish with two weeks to spare for rewrite. I was reaching my goal of 400 pages, Unfortunately my characters did not cooperate. They had no intention of quitting at that point. The book became the never ending project. Four hundred pages. Four hundred and fifty pages. Four hundred and seventy-pages. And no, I can’t spend an hour on one sentence.
Okay, the characters finally settled for five hundred and one pages. My editor is going to have a heart-attack.
It didn’t help that I went to New York for a week, but that too seems one of the traditions of my usual mad dash to deadlines. Conferences always, always happen on deadline, and I spend much of the time there reading my stuff and despairing. It’ll never be right.
Thus the marathon this past week. Up at six in the morning, to bed at two or three the next morning. Now how many times did I change the names of my characters?
Did I mention that three dogs were sulking during this time? Punching me with their noses for food. Barking at me to let them out. Howling for their water dishes to be filled. Ungrateful wretches.
Finally got finished it Thursday, only a week late. Took it to Fed Ex at five minutes to eleven p.m. I thank the writing Gods nightly that Memphis is the home of Fed-Ex, and one office remains open until eleven for eight a.m. delivery in New York the next morning. I love modern shipping.
I finished just in time to be confronted with taxes.
So now I’m in meltdown. Total exhaustion. Coming down with the traditional deadline cold accompanied by dulled mind.
So if I sound discombobulated and ungrammatical and error prone, please forgive me. I hope to be back to normal in two weeks, probably still error prone but – hopefully –a bit more coherent.
In the meantime, I would like to know how many other writers go into this deadline frenzy. Any survival techniques to offer?