It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. Every month, the organizers announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. Remember, the question is optional!!! Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG, and the hashtag is #IWSG.

This month’s optional question: In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?
The most stress I’ve been under in my entire life was the six months I spent last year doing the final edits on all three books in my trilogy, The Chronicles of Aden Weaver. I believed they were ready to go. At that point, the books had gone through their paces. I’d polished all three with the help of my critique group (twice). I put them through my online editing suite with prowritingaid.com, then paid a professional proofreader and a copy editor. But, a funny thing happens when the actual deadline for publication stares you in the eye. Suddenly all the remaining issues that escaped detection up to that point gained a spotlight.
When I read again from book one, line by line, word by word, I found so many tiny errors that it became alarming. That’s the thing with checking copy, the intensity of focus required to question each word in an 80,000-word manuscript is almost a superhuman feat. Times that by three (volumes), and you start to get some idea of the Herculean task. It seemed like every time I made it to the end of a manuscript, thinking, right that one’s done, I’d re-read and find more errors. I began to fear I was losing my mind.

Electrified by pure panic, I stretched the working hours of the day longer and longer. I had freaking deadlines to meet. I got up earlier, went to bed later. I stopped doing the less essential things, like housework, gardening, exercise, and eating. To publish a novel as an Indie, the layout, cover design, printing, and PR, need to be booked months in advance of the launch date. The printing, likewise. My designer is particularly busy, and if I wanted any hope of releasing the book on the date advertised, I knew the date we would have to start working on it. That was my deadline.
My youngest son asked me, “When is this going to be over?” I gave him the death stare. He said, “You’re no fun anymore.” And he was right. Knowing the kids were suffering added stress, but I was knee-deep in the quagmire, and the clock was ticking. I had to slog on night and day until I thought I would combust.
Six painful, exhausting months later, in September 2020, I released my trilogy.

Party. Celebrate.
A collapse in relief.
A few days later, my brother said, “I know you’re not going to want to hear this, but I’m halfway through reading The Last Tree (3rd book in the series), and I’ve found an error.” No, I did not want to hear that. I was so beyond repair, so frazzled and burned out, I walked away from my laptop for six months and did no creative writing at all.
The youngest son asked with trepidation, “Are you going to put out another book?” Just between you and me, I am still undecided. I told myself I’d write my stories and keep them all in the bottom drawer where stories go to retire. I already have a plastic box in my room full of manuscripts from the last 40 years of penning fiction for children. I may just keep adding to that and die happy.

That was March. I took a pen and paper and sat down to write a new story. And that’s where the delight part kicked in. Like a soothing balm to my weary soul, the sheer joy of creative writing began to fill in the cracks and heal the tears. The bliss of writing a new copy is unequaled. To gambol about in the meadows of my unfettered imagination without the specter of publication hanging over me is akin to stepping back to the giddy glee of childhood. No restraints. No rules. No pressure. Just the daily outpouring of my collaborations with the muse in the heady blooming fields of my mind.
Realigned with my purpose and the delight is effortless. Inspiration needs no electric current. No data. No technological interference. Just a pure connection with life. Just daylight and fresh air. Just time to dawdle.

Give me time to daydream.

Nine months later, I am part way through writing a new children’s series. I’m in the zone. The genesis draft of any story is always the ecstatic part for me. The thought of publishing the result makes my knees knock, so necessarily, there is still no plan to publish the result. At least not yet. I might feel burned out as an Indie, but I have learned in this life “never to say never.” A faint maybe will have to suffice. I’m writing. That’s the main thing and always will be the main thing.


What stresses you most about writing? What delights you?

Keep Writing!
Yvette Carol
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You only fail if you stop writing. ~ Ray Bradbury


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Comments
  1. Dear Yvette, oh yes, I hear you. Reading your MS over and over does your head in. Your brother needs to be taken aside, and told NEVER to mention he has found an error when reading again! I had a similar thing happen to me last year. But by then I was over it. So good to hear that you have a new series on the go. We cant stop this writing lark, even when we think we should! Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hear, hear, Vivienne. I will speak to my brother before the next release, that’s for sure! One of the reviewers who read all three books sent me a list of corrections for the whole trilogy. I had to ask four different friends whether they thought I should go back and put in the corrections. I received a resounding NO. I’m so glad I didn’t, because by then I was over it too.
      I agree with your sentiment about this “writing lark,” it’s too much fun!

      Like

  2. Olga Godim says:

    A delightful post. Sorry for your woes with publication. I don’t think your should worry anymore about any small mistakes left in the published books. It always happens, with the biggest names in publishing as well as the most obscure new writers. I’m glad your creative juices are flowing again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Olga! I am really glad you said that because I dithered for a while over whether to go back and fix the errors or not. Thanks for the backup.
      And, yes, the creative juices are renewing me. It’s so good to be writing new stories again.

      Like

  3. I’m so sorry this happened to you. It must be a huge relief to have it over. Errors happen, Yvette, to the best-selling authors, to me, to you, to everyone. Writing is wonderful, but the lesson here is to take care of yourself. You must come first for your sons and for your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Joylene. I must need to hear this message because I just received the same advice from another dear friend this week, too. Self-care is going to be number one on my New Year’s resolution list for 2022!

      Like

  4. J.S. Pailly says:

    Good golly, three books at once! Yeah, I’d need to take a break from writing after that too.

    Liked by 1 person

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