Surviving the final proofing stage…

I’m married with two kids, three dogs and a cat. My house is never quiet or clean for more than five minutes. Schedules are hard to make and even harder to keep. Writing is something I do when time permits or when my children manage to stop fighting long enough to sit down and watch a movie. I’m used to fitting my work time around my crazy life, but when it comes down to doing the last proof of a book just before release, crazy takes on a whole new meaning.

The Dry Lands has met with the editor and three beta readers. And now it is back with me to finalize the version that will be released to the world. It’s inevitable that there will be something I will want to fix five minutes after hitting ‘publish’ on Amazon, but I’m doing my best to ensure my readers get a top quality book, yet the universe must align a bit neater than usual for this to happen by February 4th.

Monday has arrived. After waking up early to shower, I’ll feed my kids and homeschool them till lunch. There will be many times throughout the morning when I will put the puppy in check and demand she remove my shoelaces from her mouth. I’ll step on at least three of my son’s Matchbox cars, using long-forgotten muscles in my body to defy gravity (isn’t it amazing how such a little thing can bring you down?!). Surely my daughter will leave a pencil on the couch for one of us to sit on. Because this seems to happen weekly.

For everything I will be doing tomorrow – all before noon – there will be a constantly playing loop in my head of conversations between Hutch and A’ris, and the King and Kern. I’ll see images of Ernoth in the peanut butter and jelly spread at lunch. I’ll freeze at some point and ponder the plot twists and action scenes and wonder if they are good enough and my kids will wonder if I’ve had a seizure as I stare off into space.

Then Quite Time will arrive. The children will be fed, happy and ready to lounge in front of the TV for a bit while I go back to reading the last half of The Dry Lands. By the time dinner needs to be made, I’ll be close to freaking out because I won’t know if I’m spelling the word ‘the’ correctly. This happens every time I get to the end. My writer friends know what I mean.

Tuesday will be a repeat of Monday, with one exception – I’ll be finishing the book. So I can enter a place called ‘Formatting Hell’ by Wednesday. If you’ve never been there before, I suggest SPF 100 and a full bottle of your favorite wine, a healthy supply of chocolate and an empty house. Your mouth might let out more expletives than actual breaths of air, so having children around is just not advisable. I’ve done this before though, so I’ve got this. But I’m not promising I won’t lose my cool and give my computer a good lashing before the week is up.

The final proof is like a delicate flower garden. It must be tended, watered, weeded, and given the kind of attention that parents give newborns. Without this love and care, the final proof will not be the best possible version of the story it can be. I’ve my latex-free gardening gloves on, my sunhat and sunscreen. There’s a giant watering can at my feet and I plan on tending these flowers till the garden is a perfectly glorious mess. And then – I’ll share the bounty with you all.

If you don’t see much of me this week, you know what I’m doing. And I do hope that you are just as excited for release day as I am! Now. Back to work, I go.

Happy Week, Everyone!