Mar 9, 2012

Freak-Out Moments

While digging into some edits on Locked Within last Sunday, I started to get a little freaked out. I realised just how short the book was getting as I was cutting words. I sat there and stared at the word count. 59,000. It was barely a novel anymore and I was still only halfway through the word cull. I wondered how I was ever going to have a finished product that was going to be worth buying.

So I saved my work, closed the file, and made some coffee. I spent the rest of the morning chilling out and later went to the cinema with my wife (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, it was fantastic, see it!).

Then on Monday morning, like I do every day before work, I opened up the file and got back to editing.

It's easy to be enthusiastic and self-assured when everything's going your way. It's even easier to back down and give up when things start to get scary. Yes, I was scared. My book is coming out later this year and that's a big deal. This is my life's dream. I have friends, family, people I don't even know and have never met who want an invitation or are waiting to buy the book. It would be very easy to hide and hope it all goes away.

But if I did that, who'd tell Nathan's story?

That's why I took a step away from my work to unwind and get my mind off it. I needed a few hours to not be thinking about how many times I've re-used a word or wonder what the hell I was thinking with my sentence structure. I know that, with my editor's help, I'm going to make this the best thing I've ever written. I just needed to give that doubting little voice in my head a time-out.

How do you handle freak-out moments like that?


  1. I have them all the time! Poor Conan has a lot of crazy to deal with! I tend to make to do lists and do mundane things so I can feel better about having ticked stuff off, or sit with the bunnies or do some yoga, anything to calm and take my mind off it. Gardening (indoor) helps a lot too just transplanting stuff or planting seeds always makes me feel good :)

  2. Sometimes you have to take out what isn't working before you can add in what will really round out your story. This happens to me when I work. I don't write long novels, they're barely 50K words, then I have to take out all the crap before I know what to put back in.

    1. Exactly, Karen. Like you I tend to write shorter books. Thankfully I've seen from this whole experience that an awful lot can be changed after a first draft, and yet the core of the story can remain the same.