Sunday, July 13, 2008

Eliminating Panic and Preventing Fires

Sorry for the hiatus on the blog. I’ve had many irons in the fire recently!

Book 3 (ghost story set in Savannah) is now complete. YIPEE! While the first draft was done in April, it took two months to revise and layer in all those things which weren't as visible during the first go-round. I finished the manuscript over July 4th weekend, making my own independence day a bit sweeter!

Finishing a book entices an array of emotions. Joy and relief are the first to appear, and I celebrated for days. But then, slowly, surely, the panic arrived. Will people respond to it? Will it be accepted? Rejected? These questions and more began to creep in, especially since I’m actively sending out queries/requested material to agents and editors.

Panic is a strange emotion. Some days, it mimics PMS in all its irritable glory. Other days, it sends a rushing need to DO something, anything, to feel in control. While all writers have control over their word choices, their story, and their book--once it’s sent out into the world, we can’t control others’ reactions. So we try controlling anything else. One of my writer friends bakes bread for days. Another shifts gears and does cross-stitch for three days. Me? I go into massive house cleaning mode, which brings about its own challenges.

My window blinds tried to eat me. Since I was not in the mood to become an appetizer, I struggled long and hard to battle these evil creatures. Current score: window blinds=1, Elaine=0. A rematch has been scheduled.

Life Lesson 205: Attempting to bathe the cat as part of massive cleaning frenzy isn’t a wise option, for the person involved or for the cat. Especially for the cat.

What DOES help alleviate these surging emotions, pouring through my mind at all hours?

Ironically, it’s jumping headfirst into the next book. This leap brings a new form of panic, but it’s somehow easier to cope with than the original panic. When I thought about it, it’s similar to starting a fire in order to extinguish another fire. Although, I confess that I never understood how this process worked. Start a fire to put out a fire? Huh? Start another huge project in order to alleviate panic on a completed project? I can’t explain the reasoning, but it works.

So, while prepping for San Francisco in the coming weeks, I’m happily starting Book 4. This one remains in the ghost story genre, but the plot and characters face different decisions and life challenges.

Next time you’re in a panic, try jumping into something which will help you feel creative and fill you with the pleasing emotions again! It works! And anyone out there who can successfully bathe a cat, feel free to contact me with tips!


Willena said...

my vet told me there is no damn good reason to bath a cat...

well, my cat was indoors only and had current anti-flea meds on at all times (my dog is not indoors only)

every once in a blue moon, I took baby wipes and wiped down her coat

The Writers Canvas said...

Baby Wipes! Never thought of that! But of course, then you miss out on the *priceless* cat expression when it's wet. Hilarious, until the claws begin coming out!