So, week two is done for Camp NanoWriMo and for ROW80. *blinks* I think somewhere in the midst of everything my wrists died, I forgot how to sleep and my poor husky might think daddy is the better companion. That being said, I also discovered something about myself that I think I had forgotten when I had my breakdown– there’s a lot that goes with completing a project. I don’t mean just the thrill of THE END. Trust me, I love that feeling. In fact, there’s this need to have that thrill again. Oh yeah. In fact, I had it twice more. Finished two short stories which are now being edited for submission. But back to the completing the project thing. There is a series of emotions that sweep through you, over you, under you, and then basically dump your ass on the ground and go, “Ha! What now?”
This is why I’m writing this post at 2am EST. Because I’m in the thralls of completing a story. Let’s talk about it. People don’t talk about what happens when you finish your project. Let me tell you, it reminds me a lot of what happens once you have a kid and you’re expected to take it home with you from the hospital. *blinks*
You have this high when you finish, the thing I call the “OMG” feeling. You’re on top of the world and you have created this miracle. This feeling is great. You’re ready to take on the next project and beat it into submission. (Trust me, do NOT do that. No. That way lies danger, terror, and whimpering in dark corners.) What you don’t realize is with that beautiful high lurks a deep abyss. It’s called post-partum completion disorder or PPCD for short. It usually hits a day or two later. In some people, I’ve seen it hit hours in. What happens is they get doubts about the book they finished. Did they miss something? Did they really finish it? Does it need changes? See, they gave birth to it and already they’re trying to go in and edit the thing before they can even see it clearly. In the words of Alton Brown, “Back away. Just back away.”
You need time off from that project, even if it’s a couple of days. Why? You have to clear your head a bit. You need fresh eyes. Go read a book. See a movie. Spend time with your family. Trust me, they might be happy to make your acquaintance. That wailing sound from your computer does not mean your baby story needs you. It’s you projecting your needs onto it. If you can take a month or two before editing it, even better. Fresh eyes make it clear on where to strengthen those verbs, tear out repetitious words, and take away those evil adverbs.
Then you have those who suffer from WWIDN Syndrome. What Will I Do Now Syndrome isn’t pretty, no. They want to find something else to take the place of the project that’s complete. They don’t want to take the time to decompress from the one they just finished. For some, it’s acceptable, but for many of us– it can lead to burnout. *gasp* Trust me, I have to really be careful of this. When I finished Pirate Queen’s Rebellion, I was in my Writing Folder searching to see what stories I could work on next. Yes, I have always been a sufferer of WWIDN. I am a card carrying member and I have to be very cautious when I do this not to go overboard. I force myself to take that time to read over my list of WIPs. From there, I let them percolate for a few days as I watch movies, read a book or three, or even cheer on my writing buddies. Why? Because if I don’t force myself to do some other activities– I will open up any of my stories and start writing. And it will be crap. CRAP! I’m not prepared for it, I’ve not gotten anything ready, but I want to get more done. I want that completion high so I can say, “One more done! Go me!” So, I have to rein myself in hard. Limit what I can do after I finish a story. My close writing pals know that, so they will stop me if I start rattling about my next projects. They know I need to decompress before I start up. If I don’t, I’m just asking to crumble.
Once I get past those stages, some people waver between the panicky “OMG, I don’t know what I’m going to write” stage and the other stage of “I don’t wanna write. I’m tired. I’m worn out! That was so hard! Need more down time!” Yes, I know me. Too much down time, I’ll look for more. Too little down time and I’m going to basically fall apart on you. But there’s a fine line there. You have to really know yourself to manage that area well. Usually, I can do about five days maximum before I’ll start slacking majorly. Slacking as in avoiding the computer at all costs necessary. I’ve done it before, I’m good at it. So, the goal is not to do that again. Between two and five days is about my general rule of no major writing jobs. It doesn’t mean I’m not doing some kind of writing preparation, but it means I’m not doing anything major like a book or a novella. Now the “OMG, what will I write?” people, I’ve seen it. I’ve been there once or twice while in my breakdown. It’s not pretty. Here’s the thing on that– it happens because you’re at meltdown. You’re exhausted. You’re tired. The book DRAINED you. *grabs your chin* Look at me. You have put your heart, your soul, your entire self into the book. Go do something else for a week. You need a freaking vacation. Go read. Go see multiple movies. You need to reacquaint yourself with people who love you. Your creative well runneth dry. Time for a refill! Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a trickling of ideas coming back in. Then you can start that process of writing again. Give it a couple of weeks. You’ve worked your fingers and brain to the nub! Sheesh!
That done– how am I doing? I’ve finished my short stories–so that’s fun! I’m in the midst of editing the one due on the 15th. That’ll be done and submitted. YAY! Then I’ll have to edit and submit the other one ASAP. I have time, but I don’t want to wait until the last minute. Then I need to plot, plan, and peruse my P3 world a bit. Seems Christmas is coming and Loose Id is asking for Christmas story ideas. *claps hands* Specifically the ideal Christmas for your characters if you could give them what they want. So….it plays well for the fact I wanted to do the sequel to Cupid Shoots, She Scores for a while now. *does happy dance* So, a couple of days of planning, plotting, reviewing the characters, how the time works (it’s the Mayan calendar), and then I’ll be able to get things moving there. It’s got to be at least 21k or so– which gives me a word goal for the end of July/mid-August (say the 15th). From there, we’ll see. That’s the update for now.