Walking away is awful for writers, but a crucial skill

I announced on my Facebook page recently that I finished my second dark fantasy/horror novel Corruption of Honor. Though writing it was hard for me on a number of different levels, there was one thing above all that was the hardest to deal with. When I typed the last period on the last page, I got up from my computer, and I walked away.

That may not sound hard to you, but like anyone who just finished reading a good book with characters you loved, whose pain you felt every step of the way, I was dying to go right back to page 1 and do it all over again. I wanted to start editing. I wanted it so bad, it made my head hurt thinking about how I couldn't.

The number one mistake you can make when you write anything - long or short - is to go right into the revision phase. The book needs to rest, and so do you.

It didn't feel like it the next day, but I really did need to rest. I needed time to process where I had been, think about what parts need fixing and shoring up, and come down from the high that occurs when I finish a new book. (It's been a while, so I'd forgotten just how great that feels.) So, no matter how much it hurt me and needled at me to do so, I walked away...and then I promptly started work on something else.

Hey, there's no rule that says I have to stop writing in my resting period. I'm happiest when I'm writing, so why would I fight that, just as long as it's not what I just finished?

- A.M.