distractions / freakouts / novels / writing

How to Make Real Progress on Your Novel

You’re at a big scene, just nearing the end of a chapter. Your voice is on point, your material’s spilling out faster than you can move your fingers to type it. And you see your deadline on the horizon and you think it is entirely possible you will even beat it.

But, wait. What’s happening?

Is your heart beating too fast? Are you aware of the days passing and can’t stop thinking of all the time you don’t have?


That’s funny. Your ankles are itching. Now behind your ears. Now your sides. Your fingers feel like they’re swelling up. Oh crap maybe they are.

Great job! You’ve just given yourself a solid case of nervous hives.

Yes, folks, I am allergic to my life. I’ve been on Benadryl, which helps, but guess what? It also tends to put you to sleep so you’re too tired to write. NOT HAPPY.

I called my mom, as I always do when I’m sick (raise your hand if you continue to call your mom when you’re sick!). My mom gave me good advice. Plus, she wants me to take a break today, so I am. I’ll call the doctor tomorrow if this continues. Maybe I am allergic to something—I have no idea. Then again, I once got (huge, giant!) hives on my mom’s wedding day because I had some buried anxiety about it, so this is not out of line for me. So annoyed at myself right now, you have no idea.

6 thoughts on “How to Make Real Progress on Your Novel

  1. Dude! I broke out in nervous hives not too long ago– they came right before my latest itchy fingers incident. I hope the Doc has some stronger meds for you, but I am pretty confident that your mom’s advice was the best. I speak from personal experience. Though I cannot imagine what kind of pressure you’re under right now, I’ve been under my own pressure. And it’s pretty insulting when the body rebels right. out. from. under. you.

    Grrr. I wish you a cool shower with no irritating soap, some chocolate, and a nap.

  2. It could be something else, absolutely. Or a combination–something setting you off but the anxiety making you more susceptible to hives. Hope you’re okay! Take a break, relax, deep breaths, etc.

    BTW, I don’t know if you checked my LJ lately but things went well and she should be home in a few hours.

  3. I absolutely still call my mom when I am sick…my husband, as lovely as he is in so many ways, has lousy bedside manner. Just my mom’s voice over the phone makes me feel so, so much better!

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