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My Writer's Journal

Emerging from the Cave

VICTORIA went off to Editor Paula late Wednesday afternoon, and I emerged, dazed and blinking in the sunlight, from the cave where I have been laboring on the manuscript for weeks. Yesterday I went out for breakfast, something I never do during the week, because mornings are my best writing time. Then I came home and started working through my list of stuff I have neglected while my focus was almost entirely on the book: clear desk; file stack of papers; pay bills; send cousin a birthday card; order filters for the vacuum cleaner. I owe three people long emails; my Facebook page is way out of date; I haven't put anything in my Writer's Journal for a full month. And what's that funny smell in the refrigerator?

Finishing a manuscript brings mixed feelings: relief, of course, because I really did figure out what the story is and how to tell it, but also misgivings of several kinds: What will the editor have to say about it? It may be weeks until I have her response, although we're already debating the title. I hated VICTORIA CONFESSES, and now so does she. I tried VICTORIA RULES, but that didn't hit the right note. So I floated VICTORIA REBELS; let's see if it sticks.

The other thing is, there's now a big empty hole in my life. For the first time in many years, I don't have an immediate project to dive into. WHAT IF I NEVER GET ANOTHER GOOD IDEA? I think I'll go clean out the refrigerator and see if inspiration strikes.
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