Friday, July 2

Posted by Laurel Garver on Friday, July 02, 2010 16 comments
As I've been collecting final critiques on my novel and incorporating changes, I've noticed something strange. I feel like I've hit the wall runners talk about. Like lactic acid is building up in my muscles and I want to flop down on the road and quit, just feet from the finish line.

I'm seriously a day or two of edits away from submittable and I'm falling apart. Stomach ache. Not sleeping well. Picking fights with my hubby. Distancing myself from friends.

Is this normal? Help!


  1. Can you afford to take a day off...just step away and de-stress??? Might make a world of difference.

    Hope you feel better asap!

  2. I second that suggestion: take a break and rest, mind and body. My symptoms are a little different, but I think the reason could be the proximity to our goals. Excitement, fear, pride, relief all fighting to to be heard.

    Take care.

  3. I'm going to guess yes though I have never prepared a book for query but will by fall if I stay on track. My first two books will stay on the shelf as examples/reminder what not to do. Good luck and "Suck it up" is what my trainer says when i whine about how hard it is. ;)

  4. Totally normal! When you get that close it's usually because you've put so much work into it that you can't read ONE MORE LINE. But you'll get it done and it will be great! Good luck! I'll have my feedback soon :).

  5. I know that feeling as well. Almost like you're burned out...can't see anything interesting in the book at all and only the knowledge that you've put so much work into it keeps you going.

  6. I think it's normal. Moving on to the next step terrifies me - so I can see my body reacting just like that! Good luck.

  7. Oh yes, absolutely! I had the exact same feeling.

    Can I make a suggestion though? You say you are still collecting final critiques and are a few days away from submittable. While I know you are probably dying to get it out there, I strongly recommend you make your changes and then just sit on it a week. I negelected to do this and then had a major revelation AFTER the first queries went out. A cooling off period is an excellent (though difficult) thing.

    But the main thing... WELL DONE, YOU! for getting to the end of (or near the end of) the race.

  8. I'm thinking it is normal too, but maybe a short break would refresh you a bit? I'm not an expert, but that's what I might do. Hang in there!

  9. And I thought it was PMS (for me). Well that explains it. ;)

    You sound like me right now. I'm mere weeks from querying again, but I just can't get excited about it. If I don't query, then agents can't tell me I suck as a writer. ;)

    Fortunately, I have a new project to work on (will be starting the first draft about the same time I query) that I'm excited about. That will really help. It'll be like I'm ready to move . . . regardless of what happens with the finished novel. :D

    Good luck, Laurel. Remember, you're not going through this alone.

  10. Sometimes it's like that. Just push through. You're so close. Don't become sidetracked. You can do it!!!

  11. Stephanie: indeed, I think trying to meet a false deadline is upping the stress. Now that my mom's here, it will kind of force me to step away from writing this week.

    Yat-Yee: I think you've described well some of the emotions. I have the added stress of a family visit being plopped so close to my finish line--and feeling frustrated by it.

    Michelle: Good to know I'm not alone in this odd reaction!

    Dana: I've heard runners say they sometimes find that extra reserve for the last 100 feet in the shouts from the crowd.

  12. JEM: I know what to do with the ms. critiques, and they're coming along.It's the query letter writing that's freaking me out the most.

    Laura: Burnout is definitely playing a part. It's not that I find no merit in the book so much as feeling "this is darned good and can I just be done now?"

    Jemi: YES! The query-go-round was so demotivational last time. Trying again scares me a lot.

    Jenna: I think the cooling off will be unavoidable, since I have a visitor this week. I think you're right that a little distance could help.

    Karen: Rest for burnout. Yep. This seems to be a good prescription for what ails me. :-)

    Stina: Thanks--good to know I will have a buddy in the query trenches! My query fears are looming large because I've done an unsuccessful round with a less polished version of this book. I still feel rather intimidated by the prospect of adequately "selling" my ideas. Taking a little mental break might help me shift from the persnickety revision view to the broad marketing view and nail the query.

    Kathi: I appreciate the "you can do it!" cheers--that's very motivational. As you say, I don't want to completely lose momentum.

  13. Deadlines and houseguests can be a stressful combination, even when the deadlines are self-imposed and the houseguests are nice.

    When I start to get irritable about writing tasks, I sometimes need to read and empty my mind of anything but the other story for an hour. It's like a palate-cleanser. :-)

  14. Yes, I become nervous, hesitant and grumpy. But once I'm done, I take some time off by reading and resting.

  15. I haven't approached the finish line with writing before, but I have with other projects, and I agree that taking a step back and recuperating for a few days will help! Good luck!