Six weeks ago I reached a mental state best described as I'm-Gonna-Die-If-I-Don't-Finish-This-Book.
Yes, it was almost done, but it wasn't finished.
So I cut myself off from the world. No blogging, no tweeting, very little email. If I wasn't doing family stuff or sleeping, then I was in the office writing or, more often, staring at writing already there. (Why must I stare at my own words for so long?)
I finished it in two and a half weeks.
I sent the ms off to my beta readers, who very kindly read what passes for prose from my fingertips, and who tell me which bits suck and, just as importantly, which bits don't suck. (It can be surprising the answers you get back...sometimes I get praise for sections I feared were weak.)
It was going to take weeks before anyone got back to me, so I could catch up on blogging, tweeting, etc, for a gap of about 3 weeks. Right?
Wrong. The first feedback from one reader came in next day, on the first 80 pages. Three days later he'd finished the book and I had complete, detailed, and brilliant information. So the blog and the tweets went back in the cupboard and I started on revisions. As I was revising I got a response from another of my generous readers, who had very perceptive things to say. I'm very lucky to have these people give me their time and talents.
It turned out I had a sagging middle. Well, I'm a guy in my 40s, these things happen.
I revised for two weeks. Everything got fixed (I hope), 6,000 words disappeared, 1,000 words came into being, and then the ms was off to my agent, Janet, so she could have her turn tearing it to shreds. Which I actually like, btw. The mission objective is to publish the best book I can write that you will enjoy reading. That's not going to happen unless people tell me where it can be better. I don't understand writers who can't handle criticism; if it were a bridge and someone pointed out a flaw in your design, would you whinge? Of course not.
As soon as I'd emailed the ms off to Janet I hopped back on the net -- the addiction never went away -- to immediately see a tweet from Deb Vlock that she'd just that moment sent her ms off to Janet. Then Susan Adrian said she was about to send in her revisions. Bill Cameron mentioned his was going in next week. Somehow Janet's clients had contrived to simultaneously hit her with manuscripts.
Terrific. That meant I had time to get some other stuff done, such as write my first blog post for six weeks. So here it is and it's nice to be back.
I might not have much time though. I thought I had weeks (again) but Janet's started reading.