I sent my SEVEN DUDES DOC AND THE SEVEN manuscript to my editor ten days ago. I dropboxed it to her in the morning, after working on it for 20 minutes (last-minute spellcheck, don’t you know?).
The rest of the day, I was so tired I could barely move. You know that super cute ‘lazy egg’ character by Sanrio called Gudetama? Well, that’s how I felt. Like Gudetama, I just wanted to lie down on my egg white mattress and pull a bacon blanket over myself.
I got into my pajamas early (wasn’t I just wearing these?) and couldn’t do anything except lie around and watch Netflix. I thought I was getting sick again. I had just kicked a terrible, lasting cold a few weeks before but the cough still occasionally came back, so I thought that was it.
It was just exhaustion from working on one thing for 26 months.
How did I know it was this and not something else?
Because the next day, I woke up with energy.
I walked down to the farmer’s market with Marcus. Then, for the first time since it opened six years ago, I went to the Dakota Art Store in my neighborhood. I haven’t shopped for art supplies in years…decades! It was like coming home. Then, that night, as if perfectly planned as a reward for finishing my novel (but it wasn’t planned that way at all), Marcus and I went to see the awesome author Anne Lamott speak at Benaroya Hall.
People often think that after achieving a big accomplishment, you should whoop and shout and kick up your heels and celebrate! I often think that. And, I often encourage my friends to do that when they finish something major.
But, that’s not what I like to do.
It’s taken me years to figure this out.
After I achieve something major, I want to sit with that feeling for a while. Quietly. In this case, my body and mind had been slightly tense for so long (26 months!) while working on my novel, that it finally let go and all the energy was drained from me.
For 24 hours.
Then, I got it back.
But I still didn’t want to whoop it up and celebrate.
No, I needed to slowly recover and recuperate after giving birth to my novel.
Walking to the farmer’s market felt good. Shopping for art supplies felt good. Listening to the sensitive, funny, and very human Anne Lamott speak about getting older, mercy, grace, failure, and writing felt good.
I thought that I’d dive right into my next writing project the very next day but that didn’t happen. I wasn’t exhausted anymore, but I didn’t feel excited about writing fiction.
Really, the best reward for finishing my writing was to NOT write.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing the last ten days.
I’ve been drawing, redesigning my web site (how do you like it?), filing my taxes, taking walks, shopping for new clothes, cleaning, decluttering the house, and more.
But, I have not been writing.
And I have to tell you, it sure feels good.
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a middle-grade novel that asks, can enemies become friends? She is currently writing another novel that is a re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale set in 1980s Seattle. Peg is also the creator of Fear & Writing, a workshop for procrastinating writers from all walks of life.
Gudetama art square by Kawaii Fabric.