Autumn Revisions and the Importance of Rest

Hello! I’ve just returned from an early anniversary trip to Disney World (can confirm: I’ve eaten all the things), and I’m feeling refreshed and eager to tackle revisions on my Midnight WIP! 

After drafting this novel in 30 days, I took a longer break than usual because I’ve unfortunately been dealing with some still-unresolved health issues on top of this being one of the busiest times of the year in the games industry.

I’m no stranger to chronic pain. I’ve had back pain since I was a teenager, and it’s worsened over the years. But in late July, something else seemed to be happening to my body. I could feel my body begging me to slow down, to rest, even though I didn’t understand why. So while this was frustrating and was happening right in the middle of my 30-day plan, I listened. 

The last third of my draft is…rough. Real rough. But it’s there, and I feel much better returning to it now that my body is on the upswing (even if the answers for my health are still a big question mark).

It might sound odd, but I’ve been a little afraid of my own book. There’s a ton to fix, largely in the second half, and I’ve just been…afraid of it. It’s felt too big to tackle, too monumental. I originally planned to take a month off from writing, but that turned into two so I could properly rest. 

I didn’t expect Disney World would be the thing to make me feel that sharp hunger to revise again — if anything, I was worried our vacation would set me back again physically. The first weekend of October, I threw my wonderful husband a birthday party, and for a couple days after, my body was *so* drained. I slept a lot. I was afraid Disney would do the same, and I’m very grateful that’s not the case. I’m not sure why it didn’t, and while my list of specialists grows and the answers remain, I’m just happy I’m feeling good at the moment.

I’m being careful, though. I have a habit of wanting to do ALL THE THINGS AT ONCE, then burning myself out and becoming a bog witch who stays in the shadows and does nothing. Then my energy returns, and it’s back to ALL THE THINGS AGAIN. Oops. 

While I’ve gotten better at balance, I still struggle with doing too much at once, and that’s more damaging when you’re not physically doing well. So while I want to do ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW while I’m feeling good, I’m doing some of the things. A bit. I’m prioritizing what’s most important and am telling myself, “I can do these other things later.” It’s difficult for me, but I know it’s for the best.

Revising has returned to the top of my priority list. My goal is to have a readable version over to my agent before Christmas, though it’ll still be a fairly early draft. This is also a new experience for me — sending my agent a draft that isn’t query-ready! This is our first project together that isn’t the one I signed on, so our process is a bit different, and I’m showing my work earlier than I normally would. 

By Christmas, I want to have a strong base and plot for my MS so we can focus on nailing the plot or any major issues, then use the spring to focus on polish. It’s been wonderful having an agent who I can send unhinged messages to about my characters or just to yell about the vibes. She’s also been amazing when I’ve hit plot holes and needed someone to bounce thoughts off of. Having an agent has felt like a true partnership, and I’m very grateful to be at this stage in my writing career.

I have many more things I want to do this fall, including kicking off my work team’s charity event, a Halloween movie and video game bash, other holiday activities (narrowing down my baking list is nearly impossible!), a wedding in New Orleans, and much more. Buuuuuttt, I’m telling myself to go at a pace I can actually manage, and to accept that I can’t do everything if I don’t feel well. I truly hope I’ll stay on an upswing with my physical health, but I also don’t want to kick myself if I start feeling poorly again. Life has so many twists and turns, and there’s no reason to make it harder on myself.

If you’re having difficulties with your physical or mental health and it’s making your writing goals (or any goals for that matter) feel further away, know that you’re not alone. It’s frustrating and can be disheartening, but I hope you’ll listen to your body when it’s asking for a break. Listening to mine was exactly what I needed to do, and I’ll continue working on finding the balance between all the things and some of the things.

Now, off to tackle this outline!

Sending pumpkin cream cold brews,

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