When I Finish My Book I’m Going To…

Hi. Barb here.

Yesterday, I sent the manuscript of Musseled Out, the third Maine Clambake Mystery, to my editor.

Prior to that, I spent close to three months in Book Jail. Book jail is the place bad writers go when they have

  1. not managed their time well
  2. overcommitted, or
  3. their current project is a beast that will not be wrestled to the ground.

So while I have been in book jail, I have been paying no attention to any other aspect of my life. But I have occasionally noticed my surroundings and daydreamed about what I’ll do when I get out. Weirdly, it’s not exciting travel or entertainment I’m dreaming of. It’s little things like–

1) Clean my desk.

This is where I work when I’m in Boothbay. While I’m not one to keep a pin-neat desk, it doesn’t normally look like this. Cleaning and arranging my desk makes me feel in control of my project (especially when I’m not). But there was no time for desk cleaning in the final throes of this project. (By the way, that bench gets really, really hard in the eleventh or twelfth hour of the day.)

messydeaktop2) Speaking of cleaning desktops—

This one, too.



3) Rebuild my Pandora station. For some reason, I’m sharing my Pandora station, so I can’t update my list of artists, so I have to rebuild it from scratch, etc, etc. I don’t find the Pandora interface to be particularly intuitive, so I knew this will take awhile–thus it had to wait until after book jail.

4) Unsubscribe from like a million email lists and e-retailers. I go through periodic purges of my most faithful e-mail correspondents and since I can’t find my real e-mail for all the junk, it’s time for another. I should do the same thing with my paper catalogs, too, but hey, let’s not go crazy.

5) Switch my clothes. I still have my winter clothes out. Fortunately, the weather has been so cooperative that I haven’t noticed until the last few days. But now it’s time. Summer clothes out, winter clothes away, extras to charity.

So that’s my list.

Readers, what do you long to do when you finish a project?

About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at www.maineclambakemysteries.com
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11 Responses to When I Finish My Book I’m Going To…

  1. Mary Anne Sullivan says:

    Oh, how I laughed at the picture of the “desk.” I unfortunately could identify with it and I haven’t even a novel to show for it. But you made me smile with that post.

  2. Barb, Congrats on finishing the book and getting out of book jail. At the end of one book project I usually just want to get away from those characters and their problems for awhile. Best way I know is to tackle the TBR pile. Then I usually have to do some updating of webpages, etc., so no real escape is possible. Good thing we like the characters we create!


  3. MCWriTers says:

    Ha! My desk always looks like this, because it seems that I never get out of jail. I’m about two weeks from the end of a first draft, and yesterday my husband asked me what was next. Oh, the rewrite of a book that I hired a book doctor to help me with nine months ago…that I haven’t had time to get back to. Oh, the revisions to the warden’s memoir that I’ve worked on for the last 2 1/2 years, that need to be done so we can sell it. Oh, all of the marketing work for this fall’s two books. Oh, I have some ten books I have to read because of a commitment I made. Oh, and there’s a manuscript critique to finish. And that’s just the top of the list.

    Barb, I hope that you’re going to take some time to gaze out at the water. Go for a swim. Eat a few nice Maine lobsters. Read some books. Slow it down a bit. But none of that ever seems to happen.

    Congrats on finishing the book!


  4. Lea Wait says:

    Finish the current WIP? Ah, that sounds so good! But — yes — when it happens (and it will. I know it will.) I will, first, share some champagne with my husband. (He prefers Scotch, so actually I get most of the champagne. I don’t complain.) Then clean my desk (why is that always on a writer’s list?) and file away — for right now — all the notes and backups for the WIP. Clean out my in-box – read, file, or toss. Yes, Kaitlyn – read a few good books. And then .. on to the two synopses due to different publishers early this fall for two more mysteries. I’ll also be doing some appearances for the book (Shadows on a Maine Christmas) scheduled to be published about a week from the due date of Threads of Evidence (current WIP.) I have more plans … but right now I have to get back to editing and writing! Congratulations, Barb! You did it again!

  5. Barb Ross says:

    Thanks everybody. The whole family, including granddaughter and granddog are arriving for the long weekend, so I’ll definitely be enjoying some time off.

  6. All I see in that photo is a beautiful tablecloth struggling to be free.

    Congrats on the book, Barb, can’t wait to read!

  7. Jackie King says:

    Thanks for putting a big grin on my face with this post. Loved it.

  8. First, I clean my desk. I don’t know why I bother because it never lasts, but I do find interesting things I’ve forgotten about. Second, just before I finish cleaning the desk I start writing–story, essay, novel idea–and then I get antsy because I’m supposed to be cleaning. Third, I finish cleaning my desk so I can work on the story I just started.

    I used to write on the kitchen table, then on a dining table in a separate room, then on a plank on file cabinets, and then I inherited a desk. I wouldn’t dare put a table cloth on anything I use for writing. Yes, that tablecloth does look vintage. I’d put it away before a lot of strangers showed up asking to see your “desk.”

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