Ramblings of a Writer Blog

Okay, so I noticed something recently and I thought maybe you’d get a kick out of this.

It happened when I finished the first Brantley Walker: Off the Books novel. I’m not kidding, I hadn’t so much as completed the last sentence when this overwhelming anxiety came over me. And by overwhelming, I mean the whole nervous fluttering in the belly thing, shaking hands, shortness of breath.  I didn’t panic because I’ve had this happen before. Turns out, many, many times before.

Once I got past that mini-anxiety attack, I thought about what caused it and realized it was finishing the story that did it. Not because I was done, per se. It was more the fact that the book would be moving from me to you at that point. Well, after the required beta reading, editing, updates, etc, of course. But at that point, it would be yours. 

THAT causes me anxiety. 

Now, I figure it might help if you understand my writing process a bit.

​When I start a book, it’s usually because some character(s) have inundated me in some way. Whether I’ve pictured a scene, or the happily ever after that occurs, had a strange conversation with one, or simply had an idea for a plot line. Whatever the reason for the book, I usually jump right in.

Write, write, write.

​Sometimes that works for me and I can go from beginning to end without a problem. More often than not, there is a road block. I’ll get to a point and suddenly, I have no idea where the characters are going. I don’t know what they want/need/feel. At that point, continuing is impossible. 

I’m not talking the overwhelming writer’s block, though. That’s an entirely different story. No, this is the simple matter of connecting with the characters to understand how to get them from A to B. Believe it or not, many times I’ve figured things out while in the shower. Probably because I can focus on nothing but what’s in my head while I go through that routine. For the record, it’s nearly impossible to finish shaving my legs if an idea has struck me, but I forge ahead.

If I’m lucky and I did figure out what comes next, I get right back to it. 

​​If not, I will simply put the story aside. Unfortunately, that’s resulted in some of my books/series being incomplete and require me to come back to them, so I do my best not to leave them alone for too long.

As for those books that flow seamlessly and I can stay on task, I write several chapters, sometimes up to seven or so. Then I reread the book from the beginning. Updates, changes, modifications. Next seven or so chapters. Reread from the beginning. On and on I go. So, I rarely have a first draft because I update drafts throughout the book. That means when I’m writing the very last sentence, it’s final. Once I read back through it, of course.

That’s when I realize the dreaded anxiety hits me. I’ve finished the book. Done. Complete. Time for the next phase.

Now I’m overwhelmed and shaking because I know it won’t be much longer before you’ve got the book in your hands. Now comes the constant doubt because I want you to love the book as much as I do and I immediately start thinking about what your reaction might be. Will you like the characters? Are they annoying (unnecessarily)? Are they likeable/unlikeable when they shouldn’t be? Are they boring? Is there enough angst? Too much angst? Enough heat? ​Too much heat? ​

​See where I’m going with this?

The moral of my story is that I love you all and I want you to love me back. And while I dread those anxiety attacks related to finishing a book, I will continue to endure because what else am I to do? 

Much love,

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