Having turned in my revisions after weeks of steady work, I spent a week mentally catching my breath and another one literally looking around me. I don’t know if this is the case for all writers, but after days and weeks of immersing myself in characters and their time period, returning to my own life is a bit like breaking the surface in a pool. Under water, the sights and sounds of life above the surface can be heard, but they’re muted. When you come up for air, that first breath of air fills your lungs in an exhilarating rush, but you’re also taking in bright sunlight, vivid colors and shouts, music and laughter. All of these are delightful, but the first two seconds almost assault the eyes and ears.
Once I hit the ‘send’ button to the editor, I looked around and started wondering: When did summer get here? How can it be time to get my hair cut again already? What is that pile of laundry doing in my room and has it been washed or not? Who broke into the basement and left that mess all over my desk???
As post-deadline life settled down, I’ve given myself permission to not sit at the computer for hours day after day. In between writing sessions, I’ve cleaned, cooked, gotten my hair done, spent time with my family, spent time with fellow writers (hurrah!), danced at a wedding with my beloved (double hurrah!), and just generally acted like a normal person. Or at least as normal as we ever get in my family.
I’ve also visited two works-in-progress and decided they weren’t total wretched pieces of crap, and plotted my next book. Most of it, anyway. Writing is a process as well as a craft and an art. I know it will take a bit of time before I am really pulled under again into the world of my next set of characters. But settling down to work on each day’s pages, I look forward to the next dive into the pool.