The Quirky Ladies is a group of eclectic (and dare I say quirky?) ladies who are passionate about writing romantic fiction. All types of romantic fiction...paranormal, fantasy, historical, erotic and contemporary. Bring it on!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Post Manuscript Blues (Or why I'm thankful the NEC conference is fast approaching)

Finishing a manuscript and typing the words THE END is one fantastic high. After slaving months trying to capture your characters so readers will fall in love with them as you have, to get the plot just right while keeping story tension high, to do justice to worldbuilding, and deliver full thrust on the sensory immersion into the universe you are creating, completing that wild ride comes with a satisfaction I rarely find in other parts of my life.

Only problem is, once that floating on clouds feeling begins to wear off, finishing also comes with post project blues. Before I’ve barely gotten the story out the door to my lovely critique partners, had a chance to read through my pages again to begin the long editing process (although I actually do a lot of revision as I go along so a completed first draft is not really a first draft, more like a third) or even formulated a plan to pitch the project, I am already moving on in my head to my next story. I find the first weeks after I finish a manuscript are full of a flurry of brain activity, brainstorming and developing characters for another project. It’s unrealistic, since I must refocus my mind on tweaking and revising and polishing the completed story to make it shine. Usually the frenzied descent into my next big idea tapers away after a bit and I come down to earth and try to resist jumping into something new until I’ve done the finish work on the first manuscript. But the blahs definitely set in.

I love writing. When I’m not creating something new, I feel listless, purposeless. I find myself reading more. (Not that that’s a bad thing.) As it happens, I’m in one of those periods right now. I finished my last story a few weeks back and started making copious notes about a potential sequel. But now, I’ve hit the listless period. I need a new infusion of energy to keep me going before it’s really time to start the next project. Hence, my excitement over the NEC conference. You can find information on this conference in the left column of the Quirky blog.

Conferences are a fantastic way to create new writing energy and recharge batteries to prepare for the process of trying to sell a manuscript. At a conference I become amazed all over again how many wonderful writers are out there just as driven by their muses. Others like me who think it’s perfectly natural to be swerving all over the road while trying to jot down story ideas on a Dunkin Donuts napkin from the glove compartment of their cars. I’m embraced by a community of like-minded folks who consider it normal to hear voices in their heads. I am validated. I am stimulated. I am proud to be a writer.

So now I have to make it through the blues to March 27th when I can walk through the doors of the hotel and soak in the excitement. If you too are experiencing writing related stress, whether from let down blues or any other difficult part of this crazy writing life we’ve entered, then I suggest you find yourself a conference. There are tons out there even if you cannot consider the remarkable NEC Let Your Imagination Take Flight event.

Community is the key. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. So, conference-up, cowboy. Maybe I’ll see you there (wink).


Natascha said...

Hi Michelle:

Boy, did your blog come at a great time. I am feeling pretty isolated right now in terms of my writing. Since I made the decision recently to write a book, I do not have a community to contribute to and receive from. Your opinion that "community is key" solidified what I read in The Black Dagger Brotherhood: The Insider's Guide written by J.R. Ward. She, too, advises to find other writers.

I plan to attend my first book signing at the NEC conference next Saturday. I am feeling pumped up and excited.

Hope your blues fade away.


Dalton Diaz said...


We're all going to be at the NEC Conference! Are you only coming to the book signing, or the whole thing? I highly recommend the whole thing- it's a fabulous place to meet people. Either way, come on up and introduce yourself. I'll be signing, and so will Jess Andersen, and every Quirky Lady will be there.

Michelle, I type the end and my brain absolutely shuts down for about a week. It's soooo frustrating! I also get huge energy from conferences, especially NEC. It's inspiring to be around people who live and love writing, too. I can't wait!

Natascha said...

Hi Dalton,
I can only come to the book signing. I would have definitely come to the whole thing if my family and I weren't going on a huge Disney trip shortly after the conference. Is there a conference annually? If I know well in advance, then I can plan on attending the next one.

I will come up and introduce myself at the signing. I look forward to Saturday and the drive from Albany to Framingham.


Michelle Pressma said...


I second Dalton's suggestion and recommend you introduce yourself to the Quirkies at the book signing. Yes, the NEC conference is annual, usually in late March or April, but there are others I bet you could find accessible to the Albany area. If I see you there, we can brainstorm. I know there's something coming up in Connecticutt soon and I wonder if there's an upstate chapter of RWA in New York. I must admit I don't know. Critique groups are another way to go to find community and there are ways to hunt those down. Look forward to meeting you and glad you stopped by today to read the blog.


Natascha said...

Hi Michelle!

I will definitely come up and say hi to you guys. I really appreciate the offer to brainstorm with me about other conferences.

I am looking forward to meeting you, Dalton, the other Quirks, and Doc Jess.

I hope the blues are fading and have a great week!