Manuscript Deadlines in 5 GIFS

Behold! I have emerged from a month of not blogging with big news: I just submitted my third manuscript to Swoon Reads this past week! I also noticed that there's a major blue theme going on with the photos I took of the process...

This is not intentional. But it totally makes sense. Yes. Secrets. 

After going through the whole submitting-my-manuscript-to-my-editor-for-the-first-time process a few times, I've noticed some patterns. Have you finished a writing project and felt/experienced the same things? 

1. The end is nigh!

You can almost smell it. This is such an exciting time. I feel like a world-weary traveler carrying a machete that I dulled cutting through the wilds of the middle of my manuscript. I've come such a long way since the first chapter, where everything was shiny and new and hopeful. Not that there isn't hope at the end. It's just a different kind of feeling. It's a little surreal. In just a few chapters, I'm going to be done. The story will close. WOAH. Soak it in. Then get cracking. 

2. When my characters decide to do whatever they want...

... instead of following the carefully constructed outline I have in my head. This happens ALL THE TIME. Usually it's a good thing, especially when you're still exploring your characters. But the timing is awful when this happens just a week or two before you're supposed to submit your manuscript. 

When this happens to me, I have to stop for a second and ask myself why my character is veering off course. Will following the character be more beneficial than dragging it back into the pre-planned plot? If so, it means I've got a lot of rewriting to d0 (aka no sleep for days).

Other times, a character wandering off has more to do with the above sleep-deprivation than anything. That's when I take a nap and then find my characters behaving nicely again. 

3. Sensing my deadline, my friends instinctively feed me.

I can't tell exactly what gives it away. My pallid skin? The bruise-like shadows under my eyes? Or maybe my gentle, if not worrisome muttering as I scratch out plot points and re-research the steps of the Charleston to practice under my desk?

Friend: How's the writing going?

Me: Oh, you know, pretty okay, just gotta rename a minor character and figure out what color train ticket my MC is using for...

Friend: I made extra Pastel√≥n. Here. 

Me: *shoves fork in mouth*

Either way, I appreciate the extra brain fuel. I'm sure my friends are to thank for being able to keep up with my deadlines... and motivation to squeeze in exercising. 

4. My head is full of music.

I need to listen to music when I write. I don't do ambient sounds. I can't stand silence. So I have my earbuds in as I work on those precious few scenes left in the manuscript. 

I make playlists for every writing project, but I'm probably not using them at this point. It's all about high-energy electronic music or soulful movie soundtracks now. Sometimes I'm lucky and it meshes with my manuscript (wahoo electro swing). 

Unless I know I'm not going to be disturbed, I only wear one earbud. Because most of the time reality demands to be heard and no music in the world can keep it quiet. 

5. Having some kind of vague pride in the finished product. 

At this point, I finished writing the last chapter. I've probably spent months with this manuscript. I know it's strengths, the parts I love and the characters I'm a little sad to part with. But I also know that it's not perfect - and that's okay.

Did I work hard on it? Is it ready for my editor to see? Am I even a teeny bit excited about showing my editor this SECRET THING and that PLOT TWIST and the DID NOT SEE THAT COMING moment in the middle? 

Heck yes, I am. 

Now it's time to return to the land of the living. My bedroom needs dusting and I should probably make my lunch for work tomorrow.