Yesterday with the click of one mouse button I ended an 8 month long relationship. I’m a firm believer in face to face break ups but in this situation I had to take the low road and I’ll admit I did it gleefully. Now it’s the next day and I find myself wondering if I ended it all too soon. Highly unlikely.
For those familiar with Three O’Clock Java this shouldn’t be a surprise. At Wit’s End was released on Amazon yesterday. The break-up I type/speak of consisted of me essentially dumping the characters I had been living with for 8 months. When I say “living with” I mean it, by the way.
Marie and Wit were with me every morning when I woke up. I’d hear their conversations in my head (not totally figurative – for a while I thought I might go insane) and I would catch myself wondering what they were up to. Each morning as I drank my first cup of coffee I would go over the previous day/week/month’s writing and begin marinating ideas for what would happen next.
When I went to the gym every morning it was with a set of headphones and total meditation/concentration on the story line. What just happened? What happens next? What do I need to have happen next? Did I write myself into a hole and, if so, can I dig myself back out?
Before bed each night I mentally checked in with them. Were they healthy? In danger? I know it sounds crazy but if I don’t immerse myself I wouldn’t be able to give my characters personalities that are different than my own. I’ll even admit here that I had dreams of them like they were people I once knew.
There were times I thought about them more than the real people that are in my life. As I got to the last chapters I cut off most of the communication with friends and family and let my obsession take over. Anyone familiar with the end of relationships may recognize the cutting off of communication toward the end of a relationship.
As my Companion knows I prefer to take the weekends off from writing. You know, like it’s a real job or something haha. That didn’t happen with this last one. Wit and Marie wanted their story to be told and, honestly, not knowing how it was going to turn out was giving me fits. In a mad flurry of writing I finished the last chapter on a Sunday during a football game I didn’t want to miss. Uh-huh, that’s how much I love my characters but making me miss a Payton Manning game is unforgivable (my profile picture on Facebook is from the day my Companion bought my Manning jersey).
So now it’s done. I hit publish yesterday at 2:45 in the afternoon and At Wit’s End was available shortly thereafter. Here’s a link! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H89B31G The rest of the day was spent riding the high of having finished.
Now it’s Wednesday. It’s nearly 2 pm. Right now I should be staring at the laptop and wondering what cool toys Wit has in his pockets. Instead I’m feeling edgy, antsy and out of sorts. I actually felt like crying briefly earlier. My Pandora stations seem to know how I feel about this and have been playing all sorts of Adele and other songs that are depressing. As my Companion called it one day, “music to kill yourself by” if you’re already feeling down. I realized I’m going to miss writing about those 2. But their story is told and there are other characters who are waiting to be discovered.
They say that after a break-up you should wait half the length of the relationship before dating again. I’m not sure that applies to make believe people.
When I finished Freedom’s Treasure I remember going through this moodiness. The ups from having finished it and the downs from not knowing what comes next. I should have kept a journal so that I could keep track of the recovery process. My days are completely mine – no employer demanding my time or attention – and I officially feel like a rudderless boat floating in a current that simply circles and circles and circles and never end up anywhere.
Not that my characters are dead – after all, they live on thanks to Amazon – but perhaps it’s time to come up with a tradition similar to a funeral when I end a novel. Something that provides closure aside from the “publish” button. A separate routine/regimen for the in between books time so I can stop my brain from straying.
I managed the first day by finally signing up for Twitter and updating my various social media sites for my author pages. http://www.facebook.com/aklawrenceauthor is but one. I made my way through Amazon, Goodreads and a few others. I’m hoping they update quickly.
Now it’s the second day. Perhaps I should take up volunteer work? One day at a time. The worst part? I feel like they abandoned me.
On the bright side (like there’s a downside to publishing one of my books? sheesh) I now have more time to dedicate to my blog and marketing until the next character starts whispering sweet nothings in my metaphorical ear. I discussed some of this with my Companion last night and I may have come up with something to motivate me.
Throughout my writing and self-publishing I have posted thoughts and comments about the process on my Facebook. I essentially feel like everyone on my friends list has gone through this with me and I’ve shared the trials and tribulations. Those, of course, are merely short status updates. “I got to blow up a night club today!” or “I received my first review!”. Like that.
I’ve gotten great feedback doing that and people have come to me separately to ask what it’s like to write from inspiration to the final publish button. Rather than cut and pasting the same long answers that I’m not 100% sure are accurate I will run a weekly post here. When the time comes I’ll do my best to walk the readers through the entire process start to finish. I’ll do my best not to give actual details of the book away (doesn’t everyone want to be surprised?) while being as open as I can.
So, after the least messy break-up I’ve ever had, now is the time to heal those fresh wounds. My Companion reminded me that I put a lot of effort and time into At Wit’s End. He reminded me that I’m allowed to coast and take some time off. That’s what I’m going to do. Sleep, dream and heal and maybe, just maybe, I’ll write a eulogy for Wit and Marie. The process of mourning can be liberating, right? And I can always visit them on my Kindle. As can you. Here’s their address: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H89B31G
See you soon, my Java Mates