Just a couple of writers on a road trip through life. Hop in, hold on, and don’t forget your rain boots.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine...

The Mayan calendar ends in two days, and there are massive amounts of concern about it floating around on the interwebs. I should care, but I don’t. Because I’m finished. It makes me shaky to say that, but it’s true. I finished a manuscript. A full, novel-length manuscript. 

Also hard to make but super cute
Analogies make me happier than a tick on a wet hound dog, and this writing project for me was like having a baby. For those of you that have had a baby, you know that the whole nine months thing is total crap, because it’s actually forty flippin’ weeks, which is a lot of time to feel uncomfortable and host a sweet but parasitic alien in your midsection. It seems like it takes forever and it goes so slow because there are billions of little cells that have to grow, and it’s pretty complicated. Writing a novel is like that. You have to cook it up right or it’ll come out all weird and misshapen. It takes a long time. And when you write that last sentence, you feel relieved and conflicted and you want to cry and laugh and take a really long nap, all at the same time. Because you know that now that it’s complete, the real work starts.

Writing is what I do because I love telling stories and because I can’t not write. I’m compelled. But writing is also a business these days, and that part smells like a skunk that crawled under the house and died and then summer comes and heats everything up and trust me, that is some bad stink. If I wanted to go into business I would have gotten my MBA and I’d probably be floating in loads of money right now. I’d be like Scrooge McDuck and have all of it converted to gold coins and put in a giant vault that I could swim around in. But I would give it away too. I have all kinds of things that I could do with money, but mostly I’d end up buying stuff for people and giving it away.  And probably starting a non-profit ninja school, so I can have my zombie killing ninja army all ready for the apocalypse. Oh and I’d make a bunker and fill it with stuff, like beans and rice and Twinkies, for the end of the world. Because that’s coming up too in a couple days and also I’ve been watching way too many doomsday preppers shows. I like the idea of prepping for a zombie apocalypse more than an entire world destruction type scenario. But anyway. Not the point. The point is, business is not my strong suit. I have to get someone to draw a cover and print out the pages and sew them together and hand them out in exchange for money and stuff, but the idea is so boring and annoying and makes me pull my hair out that I want to cry. I spent a year making this darn manuscript baby and now I have to put shiny Hello Kitty stickers all over my baby and sell it. Ew. And that’s the feeling you get after you’ve completed a novel. 

I allowed myself some time this week to decompress and work on other stuff. After you have a baby people are generally super nice to you and considerate, and they bring you ice packs and Top Ramen and don’t make you do housework or anything.  So I took sort of a mini-break, (ish—as much of a break as someone with three kids can take) and didn’t write for a few days. I let my brain rest. I’ve actually finished manuscripts before, but bad ones. This one is actually good. I wrote one when I was nineteen, but I realized that how bad it was about a year after I wrote it. Like over-the-top, melodramatic horrible. And when I was twenty-five I wrote another, and that one was closer but still derivative and trite and unrealistic. And it wasn’t fantasy fiction or sci-fi, so unrealistic is bad if your genre is chick lit. In the meantime I wrote a lot of short stories, and those are easy and they flow really well. And I enjoy writing them and they only take a few weeks from start to finish, so if they’re terrible I don’t feel bad for wasting a year of my life writing something terrible.

But anyway. This one is done and it’s not awful. I’m actually willing to let people read it. And I’m blogging again, which is good. Stephanie has been carrying the Freak load here for a while, with me having a death in the family and then a novel-finishing breakdown, but I’m ready to start talking about the next phase in this process. The end of the world can wait—now I have a book to get published. Which is almost scarier. 

Julie Simmons-Wixom is not a medical professional in any capacity and her pregnancy advice should be largely ignored. But if you want to discuss novel pregnancy and birth, email her at juliekwixom@gmail.com. 

Have you finished any huge projects lately? Comment below, and tell us all about them. 


  1. Grrrrreat post Julie. I guess we're right at the edge of the apocalypse, and thanks for blogging about it to remind me. :) If we all die horrible deaths, I wanted to say, it was great knowin' ya. If we survive though... let's hang soon! -B. Savage

    1. Silly rabbit, just the title is about the impending doomsday scenarios. It's unavoidable so I thought I'd embrace the trend with R.E.M. But we should hang out soon anyway. Come down anytime before Dec. 26. Also not doomsday but it's the start of holy crap kid week :-)