Hi. Um, my name is Danielle, and… I am an author with a problem.
As of the typing of this piece (and I can only hope the situation will have changed by the time the post goes up*), I’ve been clean for a little under two weeks. The first handful of days following the completion of my latest novel weren’t so bad. They never are, when I’m still riding the old high – when a portion of my head and heart and soul is still in the story, chumming with the cast, reveling in whatever rightness I’ve managed in that first draft and can leave gloriously as-is. Those are the days I’ll re-read what I’ve written to my Tirzah and whoever else wants to listen. The days one or two of the new characters will get their headshots drawn (or even something closer to a full-body shot, if I’m feeling ambitious). The days wherein excitement transitions into satisfaction, and thence slides quickly into… mild distress.
And when I say “mild distress”, I mean withdrawal – i.e., full-on “physiological and mental readjustment that accompanies [the] discontinuation of the use of an addictive substance”. …Well, okay, maybe “full-on” is a bit of a stretch. Of potential withdrawal symptoms including nausea or vomiting, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety (as mentioned by the good folks at drug-rehabs.org), only that last point barely applies. I don’t feel sick or like I’m technically dying; just restless. …And sleep-deprived, but my tossing and turning into the wee hours for the last couple of nights might be nothing more than an unfortunate coincidence.
The cruel irony is, all those things I wanted to do a few weeks ago and had to put off for the sake of word-count goals, I’ve got nothing but time to do now. I have a stack of books to read, other projects to research or buckle down on, DVDs gifted at Christmas that demand to be watched over a few leisurely slices of pizza or something. There’s plenty I could be doing, and would more or less gladly do… if only I were working on a novel, too.
It’s not just the actual writing of it, you know. It’s the planning. The plotting. The daydreaming and waiting-to-fall-asleep-at-nightdreaming. Outlining beforehand, and puzzling out during, and leaving a part of me inside the document even when my body’s busy elsewhere. It’s knowing that, whatever else I’m doing this second, I’m also crafting a story. I love that knowledge, that feeling, that sense of doing what I’m meant to be. And when that’s taken away from me – even if it’s only for a few short weeks – I miss it like some might not believe.
Oh yes, I’m an author with a problem, all right. But now that I’ve made the first step of acknowledging it, it’s time to move along to step two: Choose the next novel idea, and for pity’s sake, get crackin’!
*Happily for what sanity I’ve got, I have since begun another novel. More on that to come…