Monday, February 9, 2015

Letting Your Baby Go...Then What?

Last week, I let my baby go. After spending more time on this project than I have ever spent on a book, I
freedigitalphotos.net by Michelle Mieklejohn
finished up my current novel and sent it in for a critique.
It reminds me of when I dropped off my first child to preschool. After years of spending every waking second with him, I suddenly had hours alone. And I just didn't know what to do with myself.

I would sit at home knowing a million things could get done, but feeling a little stunned emotionally that I didn't have the little guy next to me. Of course, mommy-guilt entered (it's something I have gotten better at flinging off quickly), but really it was mostly unfamiliarity with the open time, shock at the quiet, and anxiety in the anticipation of holding him in my arms again.

It kinda feels that way now. Not with the kids leaving me for a few hours at a time--I have soooo gotten used to that (ignore the very-guilt-free mommy joy in that, please)...but I miss my newest baby, the one I lost sleep on and carved time out diligently to nurture...my manuscript. 
I miss those made-up friends that I so delicately shaped. I find myself tempted to open up Word again, just to spend some more time--maybe reading a scene or two. I pass by Starbucks and reminisce about the many hours I spent "having coffee" with my characters...ahem...slaving away on my manuscript under that little square shop roof.

And I sit here, on this bed, wondering what in the world am I going to do with myself now--unfamiliar with the open time (well, whatever that is with four kids and life in the way), shock at the quiet (in my writer's head), and anxiety in the anticipation of finding the manuscript in my inbox...all marked up.

But, I know there isn't much I should do except enjoy the peace right now. 

freedigitalphotos.net by BrianHolm
After years of critiques, contest comments, and edits, I know that I will soon be wrapped up in the world of my characters, chiseling away after that feedback arrives. No, it won't be long when my baby comes back needing nurturing and growing and discipline. It will be as hard on this mama-writer as it will be on the book-baby. And that baby will blossom into a beauty and this mama will finally sleep well after a job well done.

Some might say to write away and fill the void. Instead, I am taking this much needed time of rest. Just like I did those first days of preschool when I suddenly had the couch to myself and the t.v. was not stuck on Disney Junior. I am choosing to  breathe deep instead of scribble away on a new book, or fret and worry over what I could change in my last one. This is a time for quiet after the mad rush of a deadline, because I know that I'll need all the energy I can get when my baby gets home and needs me again!
freedigitalphotos.net by photostock

So, what do you do when you've typed "The End" and hit send to a critique partner or an editor? Do you take the time to recoup for the next round...or are you ready to dive into your next project?
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Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written five Historical Romance novels, has a Historical underway, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets, selling Jamberry, and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check out her author page at www.facebook.com/dicken.angie and her personal blog at angiedicken.blogspot.com 


4 comments:

Sue Coletta said...

We do fifty page chunks, so I'm usually working on the last pages. But once it's done I usually give myself a few "play days" and then dive into a new book-- starting the process over again.

kaybee said...

I have a hard time knowing when I'm "done." My crit partner and I go chapter-by-chapter, so there's no "done" involved with sending it to her. I guess when it's as good as I can make it. I CAN say that the longer I write, the more time it takes to stamp "done" on a project because it's all tied in to the more I learn. The analogy with sending a child to school is apt. I didn't cry over the first one because she was straining with everything she had to get out of the house, but the younger one, well, wasn't at all sure she wanted to do this and I cried after I dropped her off. I don't specifically "rest" between projects because I have built-in rest time with vacations (my laptop isn't working), but I try to recognize when I'm burned out and go with that. It's a process...Good post, Angie.
Kathy Bailey

Angie said...

Sue, I never considered "play days" before, but it really has been nice to take a little break and breathe before I dive in! I look forward to "starting the process" again...I really do like every part of it!! Thanks for commenting.:)

Angie said...

Hi Kaybee!

I had a final deadline (self-imposed, really), to send off my whole book. That really helped me feel a definite stopping point and gear up for the next round! :) It is really good to know when you are burned out and give yourself a break! Thanks for stopping by!