The Book Is Finished . . . At Last


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?

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14 thoughts on “The Book Is Finished . . . At Last”

  1. Wow, Pat, what a whirlwind.
    The one thing I’m sure of in writing is that all writers have their own way and no one way is wrong.
    That’s why someone saying, you’ve got to plot it all out, or plotting it all out ruins it, are just approaches, not rules.

    I’ve never had the deadline fever. I’m a little worried with this multi-book contract I’ve signed. So far I’m way ahead but I had several of the books already written before I made the commitment. So as I write along I feel like I’m losing ground.
    I write 1000 words a day minimum. Five days a week. Many days I go over but I never, never, never go under. And that’s on my WIP, it doesn’t count revisions. So that oughta be a 90,000 word book, the length of Petticoat Ranch, every … let’s see… 5,000 words a week…90,000 divided by 5,000 =18 weeks. 18 divided by four = a finished book every four and a half months.

    So, if I keep that pace I’ll be losing ground against deadlines but I should be okay. Scary to make so many promises though.

    Glad you can crash for a while. Sorry about the cold.

  2. Yea, Pat!!! I’m so glad you finished your book. That’s such a huge relief. I always panic the whole way through. I keep thinking of all the things can go wrong and roadblocks that can get in my way of finishing. From what I’ve heard from other authors it’s pretty normal. I think all writers go through sheer hell to get their story finished and off. Maybe that contributes to the magic that happens as we plod our way through to the end. Maybe if we were able to tell our stories in a relaxed, calm fashion they’d be boring and dull. Maybe we need the frenzy.

    Congratulations and I hope you get over your cold real fast! 🙂

  3. Wow, congratulation, Pat. And I can relate to the agony. With every book I vow I’m going to be disciplined and finish early. I almost never do. My friends have learned to deal with me in deadline mode. They understand that I’m crazy then. Hate the pressure. Hate it! But I keep doing it.
    Go and do something wonderful for yourself, whatever you love. You deserve it!

  4. CONGRATULATIONS on another deadline met, Pat!!! Be sure to treat yourself to something special–like SLEEP 😉

    I love the feeling of turning in a book. So far, I tank at meeting deadlines…I’m always just a tad shy, and a total insane, sleep deprived caffeine junkie by the end. To turn a book in early—can’t yet imagine that kind of joy 🙂 I’m already in crazy-ville with my upcoming deadline…although one reason I’m behind is because I’m ahead on the book due in September…so maybe…once I get through this mad-dash-panic, I might actually get one turned in early…or at least ON TIME.

    Enjoy your down time and peace of mind, Pat…while it lasts 😀

  5. Bless your hearts, every last one of you! It sounds
    as if you really toil over your creations! I thank
    you for all you go through in bringing your books
    to your publishers. I’m glad my job is the easiest
    and best: reading your books!

    Pat Cochran

  6. Whew! And I thought my day was tough LOL!

    Luckily I haven’t had deadlines that tight and so far I manage to work rather steadily toward the ones I do have.

    Congrats on finishing!

  7. Pat! Congratulations on finishing the book! Such a relief. And yes, I’m going thru the same right now. I pace myself, write a scene a day, and I like to keep on schedule so I make myself crazy -and my poor husband. He hears it all time. I’m at the point of crying some days, because there’s always more to do. I’m finishing up Book 2 on a three book series. Have One scene to go. I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I’ll give myself a day or two,then I’ll start right back on Chapter One, with the next book.
    It’s what I love … I keep telling myself. I really do. 🙂

  8. Congradulations Pat WOW all you authors go threw!! you had me exhausted imagining going threw all that. I know when you ladies finish your books you have to feel such a sense of accomplishment!! I’m so happy for you now you can enjoy!! I know it’s going to be a wonderful book.

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