Monday, March 12, 2012

The Novel is Done... Are The Bathroom Monologues?

This photo by Tom Woodward via Wikimedia

The beast is slain anew. At 489 pages in the preposterous Standard Manuscript Format, The House That Nobody Built has now gone off to theta readers. I've collapsed paragraphs, goosed dialogue and re-wrote whole chapters based on the generous feedback of my original beta reading crew, and presently can't improve the draft any further. It's up to outside sources to get me the rest of the way to what I earnestly believe will be the best thing I've ever produced.

One reason I can't improve it any further is that the old Writer's Exhaustion is looming again. The agitation has stirred up my neuromuscular syndrome to disturbing degrees, and at the urgency of some smart people, I'm going to claim a victory on the book and take a little time off. It's a good opportunity to read Ursula K. LeGuin and P.G. Wodehouse for the first time.

I've tried to keep the compositional process open, since there seem to be so many readers who are interested in how work gets done. I'm happy to field any questions, especially the embarrassing ones. I nearly led this post with a photo of all the rewritten chapters printed out, marked up in various colored pencils, and rearranged on my bed. That may show up later.

Because I keep my process open, I want to ask you folks about this site. I've managed to keep it going daily for over three years with over 1500 pieces of fiction, even during surgeries, cancer scares and novels. Recently I've been wondering how much longer I can keep it up, especially if the novels take off, and how much my readership really wants new Bathroom Monologues every day.

I've added a new poll to the site. Please be as honest as you can, and don't spare my feelings. How often do you visit? Do you enjoy what you read here? Enough to pass it on? Is there something you wish I'd provide but don't, or something I do provide that you wish were more frequent?

I assure you that the Bathroom Monologues are not going anywhere. It's just that, especially with my latest health scare, I want to take stock. Thank you all for all you are.


  1. Firstly, good luck with Ursula K and P G Wodehouse. I read them both, but in very different moods.
    I look in most days. And comment often. You are probably best placed to know whether I comment too often.
    The Bathroom Monologues are first and foremost for you. There is (or should be) no compulsion. Post when and if you feel like it.
    Congratulations of this draft. Perhaps while waiting for feedback you can take some time out to be kind to your body.

  2. Good morning John. First of all, congratulations on finishing your novel!

    As for your blog; it was quite an undertaking, writing daily. I try and read several times a week and share some of my favorites. You have such a wide breadth and scope to your subject matter and styles, which sets it apart from most other writing blogs. However, it may be time for you to put your health first and take a breather. I know a few people who have either taken a month or two off and posted once a week for that time, or they have re-posted earlier work. Since you've written so much for so long, maybe you could choose the latter option, especially since you are bound to have newer followers who haven't gotten to read everything in your archives. :-)

  3. I love the monologues and read them every day. It's the only fiction I get to read for pleasure because my life is so full of things I'm reading for my work (which I enjoy nevertheless). If you need to cut back for yourself, by all means do so. But please don't give them up.

  4. Congrats on the novel. You are a force.

    Nextly, I try to stop by my favourite blogs (your included) as often as I can, usually 3 or 4 times a week. I try to write as often, but real life has a way of taking over. I think you're facing that now. Health comes first. Kick back and read those books, mister.

  5. 1) Congratulations!

    2) Congratulations! And good luck!

    3) Taking a break or adjusting your schedule for the Monologues is understandable. If they were you primary writing outlet, they now have to share time & brainspace with the novels. Accommodation is expected.

    4) I hope you enjoy P.G. Wodehouse. I do.

  6. Yay for finishing! Your comment about burnout calls to mind a quote from the Klingon tech writer: "Released? I don't release documentation — it escapes, leaving a bloody trail of engineers and product managers behind!"

    As for the blog? I enjoy reading, I follow your Twitter'ed links even if I don't comment on each post. But as much as I'd like to update my blog more than once or twice a week, it's often hard to do that much. Your health comes first. Maybe queue up a few things to auto-post and take a guilt-free break.

  7. Write when you can. That's the best advice I think anyone can give!

  8. Echoing what everyone else is saying. Write exactly as much as you want, and that's enough.

  9. Congrats on finishing your novel, John! That's a great accomplishment. As for the blog, I read a few times a week, usually on my Google Reader. I don't comment nearly enough, as I enjoy almost every post you produce. I have to agree with those above: find a posting schedule that works for you, both your physical and mental health.

  10. Congrats on completing edits, John! Disecting beta advice and applying it to a novel is so much more difficult and time-consuming than the actual writing. Of course, the rewards are pretty incredible too.

    As for the blog, I read probably 3x/week on a regular basis. It's hard for me to make it to anyone's site everyday, even with as much as we all enjoy your musings. As the others have said, you have to evaluate what schedule will work best for you and go with that, but there is nothing wrong with scaling back the posts to a workable level to accomodate your health, mental and physical, and/or your muse. That's why I only participate in #fridayflash twice a month now. There's only so much of me (or you) to go around.

  11. Congrats on getting your book to this stage.

    As for the blog, I think it's a huge commitment to feel you have to write here everyday. I use to write two blogs, which involved me writing something everyday for one of them, I have given that blog up now in order to concentrate on one. I see all your posts as I subscribe by email, but I only come here maybe three times a week.

    Really I think Icy's advice is a good one, write when you can and I'll add when you want to. We'll always read.

    Enjoy Ursula K. LeGuin - I've never read Woodhouse. ^__^

  12. congrats on finishing. I can imagine those colorful correction papers without help.

    I'm quite new to this blog, & having really the time to read the back post but from what I read, I like it. though I think it's your blog so you can do whatever you like. I think pleasing everyone is not the way to go.

    anyway, hope you have a sweet day.

  13. Big manly hug for you John.. you've finished!!
    Reading some of your recent posts and tweets, I reckon you are pretty exhausted. I reached a point of near-collapse when I finished my final draft (remember, there is never a final in our eyes!!) . I've had to back away from fridayflash (and blog posting) as I was feeling shredded, under pressure and losing that all-important existential detachment when I was writing. (a lot to do with intensive editing of my book I think) I'm sure I'll be back though and perhaps you need to give yourself a little love and some well earned R&R. There's nothing wrong with re-posting some of your older stories.I'm relatively new to bathroom monologues and I've missed years of your creative life!!! The most important thing is that you are healthy, you always feel good about writing and YOU ARE FINISHED THE BOOK!!!! WAY HEY!!

  14. You've been tireless for so long, I think most of us have just been in awe. I check in about 2 - 3 times per week, and would likely do the same whether you posted every day, every other day, etc. Congrats on the novel and take good care of all health related issues.

  15. Reading your post I had the odd feeling that you were asking permission to take a break or maybe for encouragement to keep going.

    Like a lot of folk I'm in awe of your productivity (and if I'm honest, jealous :P) but I wonder if that has started to define you a bit, like you've got a rep to maintain.

    I also wonder if the book is where your heart is now.

    I dunno, but happy to think about it further if you want.

  16. 1) Congratulations! Even more than the done-ness, congrats on that wonderful feeling that this is the best thing you’ve ever written. I think that’s the drug that people get hooked on- the high good writers keep chasing.
    2) I’m SO not the person to ask about how often it’s feasible to write. I’m repeating many people here when I say that the fact you write everyday, and that you’ve been doing it for three years, absolutely blows my mind. It’s nothing I can conceive of. Therefore, the only advice I can give is to echo Icy- write when you can. Don’t force yourself to the point of suffering, but don’t back off to a level that makes you uncomfortable, either. Look underneath the logical and pick a frequency that feels right, whatever that may be. And whatever it is, we’ll keep reading.


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