Friday, November 12, 2010

Post-coitus....for writing?

In sexual terms we call it the afterglow. In less creepy terms, it's the calm after the storm, the recovery, the disarming lull that settles in once you've completed something that felt monumental.

Having written three (rather shoddy) books, I'll tell you this right now; when it's done I feel a distinct emptiness in my chest. I'm pretty lucky in the fact that I can put in two to four hours of writing a day, but it's not always the most productive - some days I get 6k words, others I get 500.

When I start typing out the very end, the epilogue or the last few words, it's always a teary time for me. The ending might not be particularily sad (but being me, it is always sad) but I am still real emotionally volatile. This being my third time going through the process, I'm able to pinpoint it now - I get touchy because I no longer know if what I did was right.

I begin questioning myself; did my material deserve more than what I gave it? Did I shape the clay accurately after the dream, so to speak.

(Writers aren't artists, but that is a discussion for another day.)

Inevitably, I make peace with myself but the nagging emptiness remains. I want to write again, and I make slipshod plots in the notes section of my phone while running errands or checking into work - I want to be writing again as soon as possible, please and thank you.

I think it's an addiction.

It's taking a bit of a tax on my social life. It's hard enough to have a social life on a cesspool island like this, but in all honesty I'd rather be writing than grabbing coffee with people I don't know well enough to like. This is how it's been since I was little - it was just disguised. I had notebooks filled with dragon gods and maps of worlds. (So did everyone else, it seems, but you understand.)

Writing is not the only path in my life, but it's the only one that matters to me.

Maybe my passion does not equal my output. Maybe what I produce doesn't reflect what I feel for it, and if it doesn't then that's the only true failing I'll admit to.

When I'm not writing, I want to be writing, and that's all there is to it. Maybe I'm mentally unwell?

This is not to say the real world holds no interest for me - it very much does. I have no illusion of being a creator of worlds, or an artist. When a story leaves me as a finished manuscript, I feel very empty and immediately scrabble to fill the hole with another endeavor. I feel like I'm wasting time if I'm not churning out words.

I don't know what it is, really. I'm just happy to be alive and writing.

Querying is terrifying and an exhausting process. I would rather write seven more books than query one. But it's one of those things you have to do!

who likes bourbon?
I don't.


  1. I feel the same way. When you are close to finishing do you ever slow your writing because you start to morn your characters? I know, I'm a sap.

  2. Bourbon? Bleh :-) I'm a really lame ass drinker. I like the fruity shit where you can't really taste the alcohol.

    Interesting post Michelle. It left me with mixed emotions, but your posts always do that. And I like that. I like that I don't always just go Yeah, yeah, I totally agree *hit post comment*. You are a very deep person from what I can tell from your writing and blog posts. Again...I like that. I will say I agree about the query letter process. I too would rather write a gazillion novels than write one stupid query letter. It's the hardest thing I've ever done (other than the thesis for my Masters...Oh and raising newborn twins :-)). However, I can't say I agree about Writing not being an "art" and I really look forward to hearing your thoughts on why you think that. Congratulation on finishing your third novel! Even if it has left you feeling empty, it's quite an accomplishment and the feelings of you not giving your characters enough...well, my lady, that's what revisions are for *wink*. :-)

  3. @Laura - OH YOU.

    @LM Preston - Yes! I mourn the end of the whole thing, but characters too! Maybe that's why I'm so set on making sequels all the time. :P

    @Melanie - I'm glad. I also dislike when everyone agrees with everyone else. Adversity is the spice of life and etc. (Twins and a Master's degree! That's amazing!)

    More than 'writers aren't artists', I think I meant more of; 'writers shouldn't write whilst thinking they're artists'. It detracts from your ability to write honestly, and tries to trick you into thinking artful writing is more important than writing that comes from the heart. Pretense ruins good things.

  4. Hey! Found your blog through AW!

    First, congrats on finishing your novel!

    Second, I'm kind of the same way with the lack of social life. I don't know, I guess I'm a natural hermit lol. Kind of really on the shy and introverted end.

    Third, I totally understand the whole mourning for your novel thing. Way back then (like 3 years ago I think) when I actually finished my first novel, I was so worried about it. I think I even did a thread on "Finished Novel Woes" or something. I don't remember even remember lol. But I hated the whole idea of moving on from everything. The only reason I had to get myself in gear for revisions for the second novel I ever finished last year was because I had an agent interested in it and I was so excited to send it her way. I still haven't sent anything to her (that particular novel didn't work out and I keep trying to write new stuff but I can never seem to finish a novel these days!), but she's so nice to continue waiting lol.

    I hope revisions go well for you!

  5. @Karla - Thank you! I also have an agent interested in this story, so there's a big push on my end to completely rehaul the project in hopes of finding something that works - and this time it actually WORKED. It felt really good! I hope you get your inspiration back/words to come out again. It really sucks when writing eludes you.