I was very kind to myself today.
I wore sweatpants, took a long nap, ate chocolate, watched Harry Potter.
I’ve been terribly stressed lately. I really can’t say I recommend closing on a house and starting renovations at the same time your first draft is due to your editor. Just saying.
When I get really stressed– as in, very stressed, not just my regular run-of-the-mill stressed– my body starts to shut down. Sometimes I get really weird inflammations– like the inside of my mouth or the tissues around my eyes. When this happens, I know I’ve got to find a way to chill out.
Hence all the self-care today.
I’m in a tough spot with my first draft. I love the characters. I have a beginning, middle, and an end. I know those are both very good things. But I also get very overwhelmed by how much more there is to do. I know that many scenes are in the wrong places; I know that my transitions are awkward at best and nonexistent at worst.
It needs work. Literal work. It requires hours of butt in seat, hands on keyboard. I need to show up.
But I’m exhausted. And I need to believe in the magic of the creative process again.
I know– KNOW– that it works. That writing, feedback, revision, repeat is the key– and that if I do it enough times, something special will happen. I’ve seen it happen. But there’s this little element of doubt that niggles into my mind: what if it doesn’t work this time?
Doesn’t matter, right? I’m still going to write.
That makes sense to me too. But I’m still allowing myself to get caught beneath the waves of doubt and stress.
I will say that I feel better and stronger and less afraid than I did back in October. Then I was having nervous breakdowns left and right. I was also writing a different book. I had about 65k words of Ardor Valor Splendor written when I started my meltdown routine. And now, here I am with 62k words of Mill City Heroes written, and I’m starting to hit the same wall. Maybe this is a pattern for me? Maybe the end of the first draft is the worst part for me. I’m a new novelist. I’m still learning these things.
At the end of this month, I’ll turn in my draft to my editor, who– by the way– has seen nothing of this new project yet. She’s the sweetest, loveliest, most amazing editor in the world, but I’m still scared. She’s never seen anything this messy of mine before. She tells me that’s okay, that we’ll make it perfect. But I still worry.
I am, of course, a recovering perfectionist. And still desperately trying to trust that creative process. Write, feedback, revise, repeat. I can do this.