This was the week I was going to finish my draft. There were a few chapters to go and I was pumped. Not only because I’m finishing the draft, but I’m excited to dive into the edits. This is the second novel I’ve written and unlike the first, which is still in a fairly rough state, I know this one isn’t bad.
So the plan was write the final two or three chapters (which already exist in rough draft form), hand them over to my critique partners and while I waited for final feedback, make some adjustments to the storyboard.
Then I spent the evening babysitting my adorable nephew and my plans got shot. I didn’t expect him to go to bed so early. I didn’t expect to have three hours of uninterrupted (!) writing time. Naturally, I took of advantage of the opportunity.
I decided not to write.
I decided to read.
I love reading. It’s relaxing, fun, and an escape from everyday life. But it’s also like “meeting new people for introverts”. Sometimes, in a normal real-life situation, talking to people is hard, but with characters there are no awkward conversations. There’s no need to ask questions to keep the small talk going because characters will tell you everything- their likes, dislikes, childhood traumas, even the colour of their underwear. Sometimes they even reveal the juicy, dark, deep secrets that they hide from all of their other character friends.
The book I chose to read was Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover and after inhaling it in one sitting, as I have with so many other books, I’ve decided that some books should come labelled.
WARNING: This book is highly addictive. DO NOT flip this page unless you have 4-5 hours to spare or are willing to stay up until 3 am. If your significant other, children, friends or other people in your life expect you to spend time with them, DO NOT open this book. If you have laundry, dishes, or other housework to do, DO NOT open this book. If the dog needs to be walked, DO THAT FIRST.
Having a book addiction is not the worse thing in the world. In fact, I think it’s pretty awesome. However, the book hangover is not so great.
Admit it, you’ve been there. It’s 1 am and you’re so tired, tears run down your cheeks. You tell yourself you’ll stop at the end of this chapter, knowing that you’re lying because the kindle tells you there’s only ¼ left to read and that won’t take too long. By the time you finish, you’re on such a high from reading that you struggle to go to sleep so the next morning (which arrives way too fast), you have the kind of tired that no amount of caffeine can cure.
Anyways, as I was reading I thought: “Wow, this is a great book. How have I not read this before? Colleen Hoover is amazing.”
And then came the “I want to write this this.” and “Why don’t my words flow like hers?”
But this time, some interesting thoughts followed. “I wonder how many edits she had to go through to get this right?” and “How many times did she think her MS sucked or doubted herself?”
Yes, the book that gave me a hangover this week was polished, beautiful- everything I want to have in my own work. Maybe two years ago, that would’ve made me jealous. Back then, I didn’t understand that a polished book took drafts, and discussions, and re-works, all mixed with determination and tears.
I do now.
The drafting and revision process isn’t reserved for new writers or not-yet published ones. All writers draft. All writers edit. And at some point, every writer will experience self-doubt. It’s something all writers have something in common whether they’re published, querying or still learning.
I didn’t get my draft finished as planned, but the excitement I have to finish and get editing has only increased. Because one day, this novel will be polished, then published.
And then maybe I’ll be responsible for another person’s book hangover.
Polly J. Brown manages money and people, both at work and home. She resides on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore with her husband, three children, and a geriatric beagle. She belongs to the Happy Author’s Guild Blog. When she isn’t dreaming of writing short stories, she is hard at work editing her first novel length work or distracting herself by writing a second. She can be found on: