The Writer's Process: How Do You Reward Yourself?
I juggle historical fiction and nonfiction, and lately I've found myself feeling a lot like the circus performers or vaudevillians who keep a row of plates spinning atop individual stalks, running back and forth up and down the line, giving each plate just the right push to keep it in motion so that all of the plates are spinning at the same velocity and none of them crash to the floor. An agile performer can also stop all of the plates from spinning without breaking a dish.
I've got five literary plates in the air these days, and it's taking every waking moment, plus every ounce of my concentration to keep them all airborne. I can't schedule vacations. Heck, I hardly take breaks.
But when I complete a manuscript and hit "send" to dispatch it through cyberspace to an editor, something happens inside my brain -- the equivalent of "Now comes Miller time!" to quote a famous beer commercial. And after analyzing my behavior over the past several completed books, I've discovered my pattern.
I find myself needing to shop.
Clothes. Shoes. Linens. But clothes mostly. In the past, this entailed physical excursions to (e.g.) Macys, Banana Republic, or my favorite little boutiques on the Upper West Side. Now I find myself surfing the net and scrolling through hundreds of images of dresses on sale at Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom. Or I venture outside my comfort zone and wonder if Topshop sells clothes that would fit my body type (we'll see). Or whether I'd look good in the white Reiss dress that Kate Middleton wore for her engagement photos (I don't).
Invariably, 90% of what I order during my "post-submitted manuscript behavioral reward interludes" gets mailed back to the point of origin because it doesn't fit. And as a respite from thinking so hard, for lack of a better phrase, my brain may need to scroll through photos of garments more than my body needs to wear them -- and certainly more than my credit card needs to fund them!
But this seems to be part of my writer's process, so I thought I would post it and ask my fellow authors to share with our readers how they tend to reward themselves after finishing a book.
Chocolate? Champagne? Massages? A vacation? A nap? And at what stage in the process do you tend to reward yourself?