September 18th, 2009
From beginning to end: One writer’s neurotic, uh, emotional journey

Cross-posted from Fire & Ice

Oh, sure, most readers might think authors are all a bunch cool cats with nary a care in the world when it comes to writing and publishing.

That only means that most readers have not met me.

Join me as I break down the angst of producing a book from beginning to end.

The Research Stage — There is excitement! Geeky joy! The glomming of lots of new books to read in order to help me build my world! Yay! I wallow in the slop of researchy glee.

The Plotting Stage — More happy, happy, joy, joy! The creation of new characters? Bliss! Discovering their pasts and all the deep, dark secrets that drive them? The formation of new worlds? Wheee!

First Draft — Oh, the joy! I love the first draft. That’s when I get to write uncensored. I give myself permission to let it just flow out without judging myself (much) or second guessing myself (much). I look forward to writing every day. I love it with a passion that gets me up from my soft bed at six every morning to write before my tornado, er, daughter wakes up. There are occasional bouts of dark ohmygodthisSUCKSandeveryonewillhateit, but they aren’t frequent.

Second Draft – This is the part where the judging and second guessing occurs. Editing is an intensive thing and the second draft can take me as long to finish as the first draft. Anxiety sets in. Lots of ohmygodthisSUCKSandeveryonewillhateit. Lots and lots of second guessing myself. There is angst and woe , woe and angst, following by some angst and then some woe. Plus, lots of cutting, adding, and rearranging. Yet, when I’m finished with this draft I’m happy with the book and I have beaten most of the anxiety monsters into submission.

Third Draft – Polishing, mostly. Proofreading. I have accepted the book and feel certain there are many flaws that I cannot see which readers WILL see and point at when the book is finished, but I love my characters, I love my world, and I love the book. I feel I have done my best and I have done justice to my original idea. I feel good about sending it off to my editor and I pop a bottle of champagne after I do.

Author Alterations – Angst, angst, angst as I see a million things I would do differently if only I could do one more draft (I would do ten if I could. For me the revisions never stop). However, I realize that I while I can make some changes to the book in this stage, I can’t do anything super duper major. Still, I nearly kill myself going line-by-line through the book painstakingly, making whatever changes I possibly can. By the end of this stage I’m so sick of the book, having read it five billion and twenty two times now, that I. Never. Want. To. See. It. Again.

Final Pass Pages – This is just a final proofreading stage. This is a particularly painful stage for me (see above). Still, I once again go painstakingly through the book looking for typos.

Book Release — Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Lots of joy! My book is out there and people are reading it. Ohmygod…my book is out there and people are reading it? Eeeeeeeeeeek! What if everyone hates it? What if it totally sucks? Ack! Blarg! Blargity blarg blarg blarg! *vomits in trashcan* And yet…my anxiety is also mixed with this euphoria born of having my story out there in print.

Gradually the anxiety fades back into peacefulness as I see that not everyone hates my books *wipes sweat from brow* Whew! I mean, I can’t expect to please everyone but most people seem to be enjoying it. And all is well. S’okay. Zen place is found once more.

And the cycle starts again.

So, there’s a peek inside my head. Scary, huh? 😉

2 comments to “From beginning to end: One writer’s neurotic, uh, emotional journey”

  1. No not scary but a lot of hard work from the sound of it.

  2. Yeah but after all that work, worry and excitement there’s the thrill of being published, right?