Is she still alive?
She doesn't return my emails, my phone calls, or answer the door.
Yes, I'm alive, but I'm not quite functioning at human levels at the moment. But it's okay. This is normal. I'm finishing a book.
Sorry for the extended silences on the blog and elsewhere. It's going to get a little worse, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am closing in on the end of the second book of the Asylum Tales series.
I don't know about other writers, but a strange thing happens when I close in on the end of a book. The writing speeds up, I lose all sense of time, and it becomes physically painful to actually walk away from my computer. It's like jogging down a steep, long hill. At first, you've got it under control but slowly you start to speed up and then somewhere along the way, you stumble. Next thing you know, you're tumbling head over feet down the hill. You can't stop it or control it. You just go loose and let it happen, hoping that you don't crash into a large pointed rock before you hit the bottom. It's frightening and exciting all at once. At the end, you're dazed, dizzy, confused, and ecstatic that you've come to a stop.
During the last 20,000 to 30,000 words of a book, I get completely wrapped up in what I'm doing. I forget the basics of life such as eating, sleeping, bathing, email, and coherent spoken conversations that aren't with myself. When I start a book, an average writing day is between 2,000 and 3,000 words. Now, I do that in a single sitting and the final word court for the day is between 5,000 and 7,000 words without batting an eye.
Luckily, my O.H. has been around for almost five books. He knows the process and the signs, like an old witchdoctor throwing bones or reading the weather. He knows to keep a wide distance from my office. He sneaks in like he's trying to slide past a sleeping tiger, leaving behind iced tea and sandwiches because I can't be bothered with this whole nourishment thing. And when I'm stuck glaring at the computer screen, he kisses my head and says confidently that I'll figure it out.
The end is close. I have several chapters to write and only one major fight scene. I may have it finished by Friday.
Is this process healthy?
Not at all.
Will I be physically exhausted and emotionally drained at the end?
Without a doubt.
Will I be happy?
Definitely. And to me, that's the most important part. Regardless of how messy or exhausting or frustrating it is, I love my work. I love writing stories. And even if I never published another book, I would still write.