Ask Dayton 59 – Post Manuscript Rituals
On Twitter you’ve recently mentioned that you’ve finished yet another manuscript. Now what? What do you do when you finish a book and have successfully sent it off to your publisher? Do you celebrate? Do you reward yourself in some way? If so, please share your routine post manuscript ritual.
Weren’t you paying attention to last week’s question? Whenever I finish a manuscript and send it off to my publisher, I walk up behind my wife, smack her on the ass, and tell her, “Okay, you’re next.”
I suppose you can say any post-novel celebration ritual begins the instant I click “SEND” and fire the manuscript into the aether, after which I raise my arms in triumph to signal a touchdown, while yelling “FUCK. YES!” loud enough to wake neighbors a block over. Then I run buck-assed naked into my back yard and announce to the heavens, “I’VE GOT THE BIGGEST BALLS OF THEM ALL.” Depending on the time of year, I may follow that with any combination of “Thank the Ever-lovin’ Flying Spaghetti Monster that’s over,” “Somebody bring me some pie, goddammit,” and/or, “Holy shit! It’s fucking cold out there!”
:: Ahem. ::
I then gather my closest friends and adjourn to the most debauched gentlemen’s club we can find, during which we take my latest advance or royalty check and treat ourselves to the finest strippers and booze in all the land. We’re talking shit which could make the Pope convert; the sort of thing from which warning labels and other cautionary tales spring. Indeed, if we don’t come home without at least one member of our group being listed as missing in action, then our party efforts have failed.
I then promptly treat myself to a coma, with instructions to be disturbed only if the scope of your so-called “emergency” is such that flames are visible from the moon.
Okay, I think we all know that the only part of that which is even remotely true is the “me going to sleep” bit. That, and smacking my wife on the ass. And maybe the backyard thing.
Upon waking from my recuperative slumber, I reacquaint myself with the other denizens of my household, reaffirming my hopeful suspicions that the shadows I glimpsed in my peripheral vision from time to time are actual members of my family, rather than ghosts or other figments of my imagination, or the creepy bastard on the wing of the plane from that old Twilight Zone episode. I put names to faces, catching up on all the latest happenings since the previous seasonal equinox.
Once I’m back on speaking terms with the other dwellers of stately Ward Manor, I give myself a varying number of days to recharge before diving into the next project. I devote some time to leisure reading, putting forth an honest effort at making a dent in my “To Be Read” pile. I do some movie-watching, too. As I write this, I have a stack of Blu-rays and DVDs I haven’t yet watched, for movies I didn’t get to see in the damned theater.
“But do you really do any serious drinking?” I hear someone asking from the cheap seats. No, not really. As you might imagine, I do most of my drinking while I’m writing the book. Once that’s done, I like to give my liver a chance to recover, too. I gave up wild stupid drinking parties back in my 20s, having learned the hard way that alcohol overindulgence brings with it a heavy cost, whether in the form of embarrassing moments with vomit during morning P.T. formations, a tattoo of my bathroom tile pattern on the side of my face, or bail money. When imbibing nowadays, I mostly shoot for “even keel, easy to maintain buzz,” unless my mother-in-law comes to visit, or I’m answering one of these damned “Ask Dayton” things.
So, long story short? I like to wind it down a bit once I’m done writing a novel and have submitted the manuscript, giving myself a bit of a recharge before tackling The Next Thing. The process for that book isn’t really over at that point, anyway. There still are editors notes to address, copyedits, galley pages, and all sorts of other “these” and “those” requiring attention, after which the book is published and some fuckhead on the internet finds the misspelled word on Page 2 that you missed despite reading the damned thing five times.
And that’s when I start drinking again.
So, there you go. Not very flashy, I know, but it works for me. Speaking of which? I’ve another coma waiting on the other line. Peace out, yo.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.