As an author, I’ve done a few interviews and responded to the usual set of questions. Although I am always asked to describe my writing process, nobody has ever asked me what I actually feel when I’m working on a novel. Let me tell you.

Exhilaration. Excitement. Fear. Panic. Nausea. Depression. Hope. Pride.

That’s what I feel. It’s worse at night. I don’t enjoy the tranquil sleep of the innocent, nor should I. Dialogue and characters race through my mind, never lingering. Sometimes they come around again, and again, and again, a relentless nocturnal carrousel with characters that refuse to leave until morning finally arrives and the music stops. By the way, that’s a good thing. It tells me that my characters have come alive. I created them and now they’re getting even.

The completion of a novel produces another set of feelings: Loss; The fear that I have nothing left to say and will never write another word; Emptiness. Mostly, it’s emptiness. I know I’ve succeeded when I have that empty feeling because I’ve said everything I wanted to say. There’s nothing left; it’s all in the book. Now it’s time to recuperate and wait for the next creative spark. I can nudge my creativity and I can nurture it, but I can’t force it. I have to be patient. Writing isn’t for sissies.