1. Every ounce of mental energy has leaked from your brain through your fingertips and you stop writing even with forty-five minutes left of scheduled time.
Right now, I’m staring at the numbers on my computer and the drive in me says, keep going, keep revising. But my mind feels like oatmeal. My stomach feels sick. Minutes pass and I’m still staring.
2. The knowledge that your child told her teacher that her mom does nothing all day doesn’t even bother you. Not enough emotion left to be mad.
3. The idea of finishing the second half of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE in the evening, makes you want to curl up and take a nap.
I don’t know why I took so long to read this book. But this story has wrapped me in its pages, tearing at my heart with every turn. #can’thandleanymoredeepemotion
4. Your kids come home from school and you don’t care they raid the cupboards for unhealthy snacks.
I’m pretty good in this area. My kids are allowed one cracker snack, like a granola bar, and then they have to eat fruit or yogurt. #granolabarsaren’treallyhealthy
5. If a rejection came in the mail right now, you’d probably just shrug your shoulders and move on.
Okay. Maybe not.
**Disclaimer** If you have these symptoms after putting your heart into your writing, it does not mean that you did it effectively. Still go back and revise and send to critique partner.
What are some other signs when you feel completely drained after a writing session?
Yeah, #4 is a fantastic one for me which has actually happened. I grow as a writer and a persona during a session of leaving-my-heart-on-the-page. There is nothing like that sense of accomplishment after a great writing session.
Enjoy your weekend.
The only time I really ever leave my heart on the pages is when I get to the big super climax at the end, and I make myself cry because all hope has been lost. I know if I cry while writing and then consequently reading, it’s going to be a good book. When I can make other people cry, now that’s going to be a great book. Too bad I can’t get an agent to agree.
And I know you didn’t mean literal heart but that’s when I’m the most vulnerable, after I’ve left my literal heart on the page.
Sheri and Anne – The one pass I’m doing has been stretching my moments and increasing the emotional impact which just left me exhausted! I scaled back my goals for the day!
I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Powerful Woman Writer Award.
Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
Oh, I do leave my heart on the page. It makes the story so much better. 🙂
Thanks for the award Deirdra!
Kris – And now I realize part of my exhaustion was due to the migraine medicine I was taking for my 2 day headache. Ha!
Haha, I must have REALLY poured my heart onto my page, because I feel just like that today! I might need to recover by sleeping all weekend… or writing some more 😀
I just get up and walk away and do something else. And then wonder how I got there. ; )
I’ve never had it this bad. Usually if I’m struggling, it’s because I want to keep reading a great book I’ve started. Sometimes I just need to stop writing and read a few chapters of the book and then I’m refreshed. Or if I’ve been working on my novel since 5:30 am (after checking emails), and it’s 9 am, then I know it’s time to exercise. 🙂
My kids have to eat fruit before they can have the treat. No fruit, no treat.
Marisa – I finally feel better today. What a difference!
Donna and Stina – Sometimes it means taking a break or exercising. REading a good book always help. But last night I was too tired to do anything. Revising combined with 2 doses of prescribed medicine pushed me over the edge. 🙂
Laura, I have a cold right now. That can also kill the urge to write or edit. Especially when you’re reading your WIP out loud and you end up having a coughing fit. 🙁
*runs off to OD on cold meds*
(hope you’re feeling better soon and that your meds don’t keep sapping you of your heart to write)
Wrung out is the term my brain uses for when I’ve left it all on the page. It’s a great feeling. But you’re right, a writer still needs crit to clean up the words. 🙂
It’s the writer hangover! Looks like you’ve got the symptoms. Only cure is a nice long nap and some time away! Let that oatmeal mush slide…Calgon take me away.
I hope you’re feeling better (from the cold, not the writing – I’m afraid that comes with the territory!). 🙂
I would never have guessed, before I started writing, how incredibly emotional the writing experience is. Add to that an emotionally demanding scene and I’ve got tears splashing down on the keyboard.
(Most difficult scene ever: when I had to kill a character. I couldn’t write for days after.)
lol. I cry and fall asleep :o)
Laura! Yes I want my crit!!! Sorry, I’m late with it. I’ll try and get it to you this weekend. =)
And I have literally sobbed after some of the rejections I had received. I also found the others hard to take as well. *sigh*
I am especially bad about the snack thing. It’s like “Mommy’s in the writing cave right now DON’T BOTHER ME, go get a snack.” Ugh I think I need an intervention.
#1 really rings true for me. Time to write is very precious, but after a good session of writing, I’ll give that up on occasion!
I’m not writing stories that make me cry or wring me out emotionally. For mine, I know I’m doing good when I end up feeling hyper because I’ve left so much tension and/or action on the page and it’s all pent up inside me ready to cut loose 🙂 But my brain definitely feels wrung out afterward.
Jandy Nelson is an amazing writer. Now that’s an emotional book!
Thanks for stopping by everyone! It’s amazing how draining revising can be where writing the first draft usually just leaves me pumped up.
I also get these signs from blogging some times. Maybe it’s the combo of the two or actually, I’d say three–blogging, writing and waiting–that can drain me emotionally if I don’t take proper breaks.
Ha, you’ve had a rough writing session for sure if you let the kids get to the sugar. LOL.
Ah, I know how you feel though. This is usually when I grab my trusty shot of tequila and a lime.
Laura, these are hilarious (and so true). I know I’ve left the emotion on the page when I cry over my own words. Yep, that’s happened before.
And by the way, I just started THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE this morning. I’m still finishing GOING BOVINE, so it might take me awhile to finish 😀
Your child telling her teacher that you do nothing all day cracked me up! I remember assuming my mom enjoyed cleaning and stuff because she spent so much time on it and she was always so cheery. Kids are so funny!
When I wake up thinking about the writing from the day before I know I’m immersed.
My biggest sign is definitely that somebody will walk in to speak to me, and I’ll open and close my mouth several times before I can summon a thought and convert it to words.
This is funny, Laura, especially the kids telling the teacher Mom does nothing at home. For me, it’s either when I’m typing with tears running down my cheeks or the times I can’t hold my head up, collapse on the bed in here behind me, and fall asleep before the second exhale.
LOVE this post! And as a homeschool mom to two little girls, I most identify with number 4–unhealthy snackage. I try to have them make smarter choices but when I am drained from writing–or really in the zone and fingers are flying–I tend to let them have what they want. Which means, they really really like it when Mommy is like that lol
Thanks for the smiles!
I wrote a scene not long ago, that after I finished it, I stared at the screen for 45 minutes, unable to look away, unable to lift a finger to do anything. It was terrible, and oh so perfect. I read those pages now and when I’m done, I have those same emotions. I’ve written things that made me cry, things that wiped me out for a moment, but nothing like that. I can’t wait to see what the readers think when they get to that scene (it will come out in about 6-9 months)