I’ve been involved with theatre since I was in the sixth grade. I turned 39 for the second time this year, so that’s a lot of plays. The only thing that every single one of those shows have in common is the feeling you get when it’s over. I call it post show blues—sort of post partum depression for actors and techies. No matter how good or bad a show is, no matter how difficult your director or fellow actors were, no matter how many challenges an actor faces in a production, he or she ends up being a hot mess the morning after a show closes. Some times we don’t even wait until the next morning. When I directed The Secret Garden last spring, I was a tower of Jell-O when my actors took their curtain call on our closing performance. The better the experience, the bluer the blues.
I wondered if I would have the same feeling when I completed NaNoWriMo this week. I’m happy to say that this doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe part of it is that theatre is a collaboration of many people that we miss when a show is over. While I have gotten to know some of my NaNoWriMo participants, most of the people I collaborated with on this product are a product of my imagination. And they’re still tumbling around my brain. Besides, I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Even if the material I’ve written is far from being the great American novel. It is a complete story from beginning to end. It needs a lot of work. There are some major inconsistencies that must be dealt with. Most of the story takes place in the fall—except when characters are doing spring planting and making lambs out of cotton balls at preschool. Ahem. And of course, several of the characters changed their names midstream—sneaky bunch!
In Stephen King’s marvelous book On Writing, he recommends letting a manuscript sit for eight weeks before starting in on the editing process. All I can say is, Mr. King must have a much greater sense of self-control than I do. I’m itching to take a machete to my manuscript—or maybe just a red pencil. But I will try to let my novel rest for at least a couple of weeks. For now, I’ll catch up on my blog reading and writing, memorize my lines for The Odd Couple, and get my house ready for Christmas.