Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Razorland -- and giving thanks

Last night at 2am, I finished my YA project.

I've been fast drafting, which is writing 5K a day for 14 days until you have a book. It was not easy. More than once, I wanted to quit. I told myself, you deserve a day off. You'll still finish it, just not at this brutal pace. But once I set myself a challenge, I just don't have it in me to quit. So I kept pushing forward, thanks to Shannon Reinbold-Gee and the support of my awesome Twitter-pals.

On Sunday, I was so close to throwing in the towel. I just didn't think I had anymore energy to give this book; I was so weary. And then my friend Bree said she'd Photoshop me wearing a tiara if I got my words done. Anna said she'd bake me cookies. I was so awed and humbled by the outpouring of support and warmth. It bolstered me when I literally had nothing left.

And Sunday's work went so well. Their kindness gave me the fuel I needed to keep going. Monday's work flew. I kicked Tuesday's ass. I wrote my words yesterday in 4 hours and then went on to write my Jax proposal. I took some time off and hung out with my family. At 11:30, I sent my proposal to Anne Sowards. I chatted on Twitter briefly, and then I tried to sleep. At 12:30, I gave up on sleep because Razorland wouldn't stop writing itself in my head. So I got my laptop from the bedside table, which is where it lives in case the book won't let me rest, and I said, "Ok, I'll write a little of the last chapter tonight."

As it turned out, I wrote all 3K in 1.5 hours. I've never done that before. It was all there, no downtime, no thinking, and I wrote it all, as if I had watched it in a movie. So now I'm done, and I really think Razorland is one of the best things I've ever written. I went back over it today to make sure it was suitable for beta readers to see it and it made me cry. My own book that I just finished! That's not normal. I'm usually sick of a book and hating it the day I finish it. It takes weeks for me to get 'round to think, hey, this isn't bad. Not Razorland.

This fast drafting thing was the hardest challenge I've ever undertaken. Sometimes people say to me, with the best intentions, I am sure, "You're a machine."

No. I'm not. My fingers hurt like hell today. I'm tired. I'm emotionally exhausted. I cried last night because I was sending off my last Jax proposal, and Jax is the heroine who took me to New York. Book six is where her story ends, but I'm sad to see her go. Just like you, I get disheartened. I grow weary. I wonder if I have what it takes. I work very hard, but I am human.

And I am so grateful to the friends who kept me going. So this post is dedicated to everyone on Twitter who spared me a kind word when the going got tough. I'm also very appreciative of my family, who didn't complain about all the takeout or about how little they saw me the past two weeks.

Who are you thankful for today?


BreiaB said...

I am thankful for wonderful authors like you who put their all into books in the hopes that a few people might enjoy what they've written. I am especially thankful that you continue to put out said books even though you want to quit sometimes .
I would also be thankful for some form of spellcheck on these comments.LOL

Anonymous said...

See, you don't know how encouraging YOU have been to me Ann. I read back over your comments on CB when I'm feeling depressed, and I think about how you make it seem effortless, even though it's not.

Stacia is pretty encouraging as well, so is my husband and my friend Zoe.

It's been one crazy, dramatic, soul crushing and reforming kind of year and just knowing that there are other people out there who have been through it too and beat it is huge inspiration.

I can't wait to read Razorland :)

Kwana said...

This is such a wonderful and inspirational post. I'm thankful to you for writing it. I'm thankful to all my friends to keep propping me up when I too think I can't do it.

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Congratulations Ann!
You continue to inspire me.
All the best,

Janicu said...

This is a really nice post, and I'm really glad to hear you got through it. It sounds painful, but really cool that you got through it and created something you are happy with!

I'm thankful for.. a book to look forward to reading at the end of the day! :)

Shannon Reinbold-Gee said...


You knocked it out of the park. Every time my butt was dragging (and it DID drag) I thought about how I'd be such a wuss if I didn't push through it (especially since I asked you if I could sort of tag along). And every time I was faltering, you encouraged me. I think that says a lot about you as a person.

And you do frikkin' inspire me. When I'm chatting with folks about writing (my bro' the other night) I break into my "But you know who really is amazing? This chick, Ann Aguirre." At which point I explain how amazingly lucky I am to have connected with you in all this.

This thing we do--this writing--can take a lot out of a person. We're creating worlds and mapping lives.

Such things can make the dishes pile up and dinner grow cold. And if we don't have the support of family--well, I'm glad mine's a tolerant bunch. ;-) It sounds like we're both truly blessed.

And I'm SO proud of you (and a bit proud of me, too ;-).

Next time you're up for doing something this crazy again, you know how to find me. :D

And I can't wait to see a beta copy of Razorland in my inbox.

Much love and appreciation,
(ready to kick your butt and encourage you as needed ;-)

Ann Aguirre said...

Breia, I am grateful those authors too! As much as I am a writer, I'm also a reader.

Aw, thanks, Michele. :)

Kwana, we would all be lost without those friends!

Thank you, Rob!

Janice, I so hear you on the books.

And Shannon, omg, check your email! You totally kept me going, and I'm SO proud of you too for slogging through to the end. Big hugs all around.

azteclady said...

I'm grateful every day for so many people in my life--now and in the past--who have held me above water when I can swim anymore.

And I hope I do my part in helping others when they need it.

You want cookies? You can haz orange sugar cookies if you wantz zem!