Monday, May 22, 2017

What Do You Do After The End?

by 
Patricia Johns & Patricia Bradley

Patricia Bradley here. I am about two days away from sending a completed manuscript to my editor and dreaming of what I plan to do once it's off. Just now, the other Patricia emailed me, and I asked her what she usually did when she finished a book. 

And then the lightbulb went off. This sounds like a blog post! So we brainstormed, and here are the results. 

Patricia Bradley on how she celebrates finishing a book:

After I hit send, I take a deep breath. Then, I do a Snoopy dance.

And then reality hits as I look at the lonnnnng to-do list of things I've put off while finishing the book. But there is such a sense of satisfaction of having completed something. 

Some days when the words are flowing I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming that I actually get paid to do something I love. Other days, when writing is like pulling teeth, I wonder if I've totally lost my mind. But in the end, I remember that I'm living my dream. And once the book is done, I start thinking about the next one. 

Patricia Johns on how she celebrates finishing a book:

After I type "The End," I have a brief sense of satisfaction, followed by feelings of panic. And while you might not think that panic is in order, IT IS! Here are the reasons:

1. The rough draft needs work. Lots of work. I can already feel it's imperfections waving at me, and I'm anxious to get polishing, even though I don't have the creative energy for that yet.

2. I have the urge to start another book, even though the editing on this one isn't finished yet, so I have a feeling of being left "workless," which is not a comfortable feeling.

3. When you rouse yourself from your manuscript, you are faced with real life, and there's a bit of adjustment time there. I feel a mixture of loneliness for human contact and social anxiety. I'll do something weird, I  just know it! I'll be too friendly in the grocery store or something. As an author, you control all the characters. In real life, that's frowned upon. 

But still, typing "The End" is very satisfying, and I do keep my surge of panic under control. It's all part of the process, and I LOVE this job!

So, that's what it's like for the two Patricia's. If you're a writer, what do you do when you finish a book?

34 comments:

  1. After I finish writing a book, I like to binge read before starting the next project. You're right, typing "The End" is extremely satisfying.

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    1. I'm actually doing some binge reading right now, Jill! :)

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    2. Binge reading is on my to-do list!

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  2. I read some. Lots of dinners out, although I really can't explain that. When I finished the last one, I intended to take two weeks off writing and concentrate on...well, anything else. That lasted a couple of days...

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    1. I tend to promise myself I'll rest for a certain amount of time, too. Never works. ;)

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    2. So agree with you Liz! I have a short story due by July 1 so I probably won't even get a break this time.

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  3. I definitely do the "dance around the room" thing. Then I panic because I see the pile of laundry to go to the cleaners, the sand dunes of dust on the tables, the flurry of downloaded emails and papers at my feet (and I have NO idea who printed THOSE), the yard work is endless, the ceilings still need plastering; and let's not talk about the garage that is beyond help. Do I do any of this? Nope. I binge read like Jill. Actually I LOOK out the window instead of stare blankly at the area in front of me trying to find the WORDS---those sublime, right words. Oh yes, there they are--- THE END.

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  4. Chocolate. Lots of chocolate. That's how I celebrate the end! Then I try to convince the man I've been ignoring for the past few weeks that yes, I really am his wife and we should go celebrate my return to the living by going out to eat. Like Liz, I promise to take a few weeks off but it never works.

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    1. Those long-suffering husbands! :) We must be worth it!

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    2. Since I just started a diet, chocolate is off the table...maybe one piece. lol

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  5. Oh my goodness, Patricia J, you described my The End state of mind perfectly! I panic while my husband does the celebrating(:

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    1. So I'm not alone in the panic! :) That's good to know. I'm in good company.

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    2. No husband here to celebrate, but I do have a boyfriend...who told me the other day after I said I'd started riding my bike to do errands..."Don't get killed. The vegetables are coming in."

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  6. "As an author, you control all the characters. In real life, that's frowned upon." - That comment made me laugh out loud. Oh how I wish I could control the real characters in my life sometimes. When I finish a book, I sit for a brief moment and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction and relief that comes from it, and then I try to finish the things I've been putting off since beginning the story. I apologize to the husband and kiddos for my bad moods and terrible dinners, and after a couple of days relaxing, I'll work on some freelance projects before I jump into another story.

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    1. Oh, yes, the terrible dinners. Especially on that push near the end of the book. "I'm sorry, honey, I was finishing up this chapter. We've got left over soup, boiled veggies and we only had two eggs left, so we each get two forkfuls of scrambled eggs." LOL! At that point, they really are better off cooking for themselves!

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    2. Somehow I manage to throw something on the table, throw being the operative word. But then, I don't have kiddos home.

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  7. When I hit send, I'm chanting "I hope she likes it," over and over. I take a couple of days off writing to notice the housekeeping disaster around me I've been ignoring while in that other world. Then I escape by starting the next story.

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    1. The wait between send and getting that email back that says she loves the story is soooo long!

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  8. When I finish the first draft, I celebrate because now I get to rewrite and edit and that's much more fun than the first draft.

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    1. I'm with you there, Linda. All the time I'm writing the first draft, I'm telling myself I can't edit what I haven't written.

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    2. I hear you, Linda. I write 'skinny' first drafts, so as soon as I've reached the 'finish' line, I go back in and plump it up.

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  9. With my last three manuscripts, timing seems to have worked perfectly. When I've finished a manuscript, I've received the revisions notes for my last MS. When I finished the next MS, I received the line edits for another and so on. And, yes, whenever I send something off, I feel a sense of satisfaction.

    Best wishes with your next WIP, ladies!

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    1. Oh, Kate, that sounds like heaven. My edits always come when I'm trying to finish a manuscript! Like the last week. lol

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  10. When I hit Send, I sit back and exhale a huge sigh of relief. Then I decide some kind of treat is in order, not to say that I didn't indulge while writing but....Maybe a glass of bubbly at dinner. However, the next day reality strikes as you both say. How much more work will there be? Can I do it again? Will another 'idea' shape up into another proposal? So that 'send' moment is really to be savoured, isn't it? It is just a moment, after all.

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    1. Can I do it again? Janice, that is always in the back of my mind when I finish a book. And when I start a new one, it's like, now how do I do this?

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  11. I tend to binge read, dig out of the clutter that's accumulated, and then take a long time looking at my Netflix list. I've been known to watch whole seasons of things. I can't be alone in that. Funny, though, it doesn't take long before ideas start popping and I find myself back at it. And I know I'm not alone in doing that. Something about the couple of days spent catching up leaves room in my semi-rested brain for new stuff.

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    1. Oh yes, TV watching comes back into the scene, too. :) I just finished watching "Dark Angel" from Masterpiece.

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    2. I can't wait to clean up my writing room...so I can mess it up again. lol

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  12. All so true. I like to read for a while, too, for a break. By the way, love Snoopy dancing.

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    1. We all sound like the break is necessary, but agonizing. :) I'd pay to see Patricia B's Snoopy dance!

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    2. Bawhhaaa! Let me paint you a picture...picture Sinefield's Elaine dancing. That's me.

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