Angst and benders

I’m not Ernest Hemingway. You won’t find me going on a writing bender with empty bottles of alcohol and stubbed out cigars in overflowing ashtrays, but my life does get a bit chaotic when I’m in the zone.

I woke up this morning with the embarrassing realization that I do not have one clean article of clothing. I can’t remember the last time I did dishes, but since I also cannot remember the last time I cooked, the kitchen is not that messy.

The worst “Oh my goodness” moment came when I walked by my trash can and found it overflowing with take out containers and empty Starbucks cups.

So while I did not fully revert into writing bender mode, I did veer from my healthy lifestyle a bit. But I’ll get back on track.

At least my mini-bender has been productive. A major publisher has reviewed the first three chapters of Heart of Grace and they’ve asked to see the full thing. It is done, or at least it was done until the perfectionist in me had to read it over “one last time.”

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), I tightened up a lot of the writing and completely rewrote several scenes. This 1,249th rewrite resulted in a reduction of about 5,000 words and this particular publisher is VERY strict about word count, so I’ve been struggling to come up with more stuff to write without just adding fluff.

I’m nearly done after an entire weekend, plus a Tuesday night and Wednesday night with my fingers at the keyboard, and my head in rural Montana. I still have to scrounge up another 3,500 words, but I’m adding a chapter where my city girl character tries her hand at barrel racing. This should provide some comic relief to offset all the angst. Maybe she’ll get hurt and her cowboy will have to rescue her…perhaps even toss her over his shoulder and give her a stern reprimand to remind the reader that he may be a nice guy, but he’s still a cowboy.

My favorite Ernest Hemingway quote. So true.

My favorite Ernest Hemingway quote. So true.

Still, I care for my characters, so their angst becomes my angst. Maybe I’m the one who needs the comic relief.

This, of course, is only one crazy, exciting, nerve-wracking thing going on in my life. I also just quit my day job to take a position at a law firm. It’s a good move and hopefully it will reduce some of my stress, but it’s been a rough transition.

I woke up this morning mumbling to myself my cats about all the thoughts scrambling through my head. Eventually my mumbles went to God, and I then I took some time to pray properly. When I get so busy I forget to talk to God, that’s when I know I am just way too busy.

Leaving a job after 6 1/2 years is way more emotional than I thought it would be… it’s worse than ending a relationship in some ways.

But at least I know that my professional angst – as opposed to the angst of a city girl falling for a Montana cowboy (why can’t THAT be my angst??) – must subside when the break is finally complete. Then will come the angst of starting a new job, but hopefully by then Heart of Grace will be finished (at least until I decide to rewrite it for the 1,250th time) and in the hands of an editorial assistant who holds the power to squash my dreams or make them a reality.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. What about you? What angst (professional, cowboy-related, or otherwise) have you been dealing with?

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