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Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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Turning the Last Page

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 11, 2011

Each day brings me closer to the last page of my WIP. Besides the final battle scene, I have the emotional resolution to write, and then I’m done. I am both dreading and eagerly anticipating that moment. As the holidays approach, I want more time for gift shopping and cooking and family events. It would nice to have the weight of this story off my mind so I can plan holiday gatherings and vacations, lie around and read magazines, and enjoy the cooler weather. On the other hand, a sense of panic afflicts me at the very notion of that yawning emptiness. No book in my head? No characters who talk amongst themselves? I’ll feel lost, adrift in a sea of reality.

For a while, I can delude myself by revising this story. But once the final version is ready, and that may be months away, then what? Quit the creative writing part for a while to focus on promotion? Surely that’s a valid choice with a new release due out in January and guest blogs to write for a virtual tour. But what will I say when a fan asks, “What’s next?” Dare I think about taking more time off? Would I rather spend the hours sorting family photos into albums, meeting friends for lunch, traveling, and trying out new recipes?

A break would be nice, but too much of a break, and I’ll get depressed. That’s what abstinence from writing does to me. I feel like a boat without a rudder, and it’s not pleasant.

I want to end this book, one of my longer tomes over 450 pages, and yet I don’t want it to end.

Is anyone crazier than a writer? I am certainly going to take a break through the holidays, but I’ll bet when the New Year rolls around, you’ll see me back on a writing schedule. Or the choice may be taken from me if one of my projects finds a home.

How do you feel as a project nears its end? Do you ever yearn for time off, only to find that you go nuts after a week or two away from the keyboard? That promo activities don’t fulfill you the same way creating a new story will? Does a new idea start fermenting in your mind until your fingers itch to type? Or do you crave a quieter life, one where the torments and joys of being a writer fade into the background?


4 Responses to “Turning the Last Page”

  1. I really don’t have any relatives in this neck of the woods, so I go to Jacksonville where most of my family lives. I love not having to plan parties, I’d much rather go to them! LOL!
    Seriously, it’s when I can. When my muse wakes up and screams at me. I gotta write. And In answer to your question I have to admit, I’d rather be writing…. 🙂

  2. Still, Mary, isn’t it nice to get away for a while and visit those relatives in Jacksonville?

  3. I know what you mean. Without a work in progress, a writer feels adrift without a paddle. For me, though, it’s the business end of the writing that puts on the pressure – the promo, deadlines, revisions letters, etc. Without all that I find the creativity of writing relaxing. It takes my cares away. It’s the pressure to produce that I’d like to leave behind during the holidays, and just be able to write whenever the mood strikes.

  4. I can certainly understand wanting a release from deadlines and promo pressure. However, unless a writer is really self-disciplined, writing when the mood strikes won’t help productivity. It’s easy to get lazy and then it gets harder to face the blank page. Maybe the key is setting realistic goals if outside pressure isn’t a factor Or take some time off until you’re ready to return. Taking a break is part of the creative process.

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