This pattern repeated during copy edits, but was exacerbated by my obsession with removing words I re-used too often. YES! I KNOW THIS IS A GOOD THING! Thus the obsession. I tackled "just" as well as I could -- often with the result that I over-used "only." Still, "just" was not my big problem. I became obsessed with replacing words that are impossible not to repeat. "Look at how many times I'm using the word 'the'! Surely, there must be a better word!" (The preceding was exaggerated for dramatic effect.) More frightening was the amount of time I spent globally searching for words I was convinced I had overused, only to find that I had NOT USED THEM EVEN ONCE! That's when I began to suspect I had a problem.
I won't even get into the more obvious signs, such as avoiding friends when deadlines approached, giving up showering, scavenging for food in the pantry because I didn't have time to cook, shop or even order out, etc.
In retrospect, now that the copy edits are back in the hands of the publisher, I realize that the obsession with the small stuff was a way to compensate for the fact that it is too late to turn my novel from a light, contemporary tale with fantasy elements into a dark, dystopian epic about survival and redemption. Or an adult literary mystery. Or a Victorian novel of manners. Or anything else other than what it is. Which is a book I like, and more importantly, the book I wrote.
The final sign of my addiction came in the FedEx line, when I was still revising, seconds before I was to ship the manuscript back to New York. I finally acknowledged my problem and forced myself to let the book go.
And now back to the rough draft of the next book, which, when completed, I can began to revise again...(hee hee hee).