Wake Me Up When September Ends

Well, I’m back. I’m happy to inform you the two blog-free weeks haven’t been spent in vain, as the first draft of A Trial of Sparks & Kindling is officially done.

Did that read first draft? What I really mean is first complete draft. You see, it’s the fifth version of the document on my computer.

I’d made about sixteen chapters worth of progress up until mid-July, but in the midst of all that heartache, I knew something was wrong with the manuscript. At that stage, I deleted everything and started over.

I started over again at the beginning of August, when I’d already written 30 chapters–but thankfully I could salvage some of the manuscript. I finally typed the last words last Thursday, the 29th of August, after which I immediately read through the document, and sent it to the beta team on Saturday.

In around 7 weeks, I bashed out over 140k words.

I’ve done this before. It’s not a new discovery that I write fast when I’m inspired. I just never realised how bad it could be for my health.

This time around, I literally wrote myself an injury. Last week was tough. I had multiple panic attacks, I couldn’t eat, I ran on fewer than five hours sleep per night, but I COULD NOT STOP WORKING. I was so close to the end, so close to my self-imposed deadline, and big things happened in this book that really took an emotional toll on me. I’ve never had such intense impostor syndrome before, and though it’s better now than it was last week, it’s still not gone.

The good news is my family had my back. My kid gave me the best pep-talk ever, and my husband cleaned the house so I wouldn’t have to.

It was hard. I was so obsessive that I couldn’t turn my mind away from the book, no matter what I was doing. This is the absolute worst I’ve ever been when writing.

But, there’s something to take away from this.

I learned that I could totally write four or more 120k books per year, but I really can’t. In the future, I’m going to try to write to a schedule. If I do a little every day, it should allow me a grace period to put in a bit more when I’m heavily inspired. When the inspiration runs out, though, I still have to work a bit every day.

It doesn’t help if I put out a book in 7 weeks but am comatose afterwards. I’m so tired, I can barely keep my eyes open to finish this post, for example. There’s nothing but dust left in the energy stores.

At the same time, I’ve developed this sense of wrongness, almost guilt, because I’m not putting in the same intense hours that I put in last week. I’ve been “taking it easy” for two days. Two. And I feel like I’ve not been working for months.

It’s insane how hard people who work for themselves are on themselves. This isn’t a phenomenon isolated to my creative mind. Oh no. I’ve met people in all kinds of home-run businesses who get exactly the same way. It’s like we have to work that much harder to prove to the rest of society that we actually bring something to the table.

Anyway, I’m working on it. I have to ease up on myself, and to that end, there will be no writing this week, except for the blog. That’s about as much as a vacation I can stand. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by.


(Future Yolandie here with a quick note. I’m already writing again. I’m going to do my best to not burn out, but I find it impossible to step away. So, forced breaks–lots of them–and no working once the kid comes home from school. I have to run out of steam sometime, right?)


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A Study of Ash & Smoke
A Trial of Sparks & Kindling


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