Hitting the Barre by Heather Novak

The post-book-release slump. It is a real thing. You pour your time, heart, and soul (and money for your ice cream habit you’re still in denial about) into breathing life into these characters. Release day hits. You throw up the breakfast you pretended to eat, shut off your phone so you stop refreshing your sales every fifteen seconds, and chew on the ends of your hair. You do interviews, parties, blog posts, and so on.

You’re left wondering how to start all over again. There’s a feeling of being lost.


“Once upon a…” Oh crap…what was it again?

Like your characters have moved on with their lives and left you behind. Oh dear god, now you need to make new ones from scratch.


After two weeks of zero progress on my laundry list of projects and hovering deadlines, I listened to the advice from both my therapist and the Romance Writers Report: It was time to combat my panicked slump and consequential writer’s block by taking an exercise class.

I said it.

Exercise. Class.

Go ahead. I’ll give you a moment to cringe.


I’ve been told, apparently, that daydreaming about doing dirty things with book boyfriends is not actually considered cardio. (I beg to differ. My heart rate significantly increases when my book b/f starts talking dirty to me.)

So, after getting approval from my doctor (because, apparently, I adult correctly sometimes), I signed up for a 9:00am Saturday Morning ballet barre class. (WHY DID NONE OF YOU STOP ME?! I’m not sure we can continue being friends.)

Yep. I signed up for a barre class.

  That’s barre, not bar, unfortunately.

Choreographer helping young ballet dancer to have right position. Exercising at the barre by the mirror


Group Of Friends Enjoying Drink At Outdoor Rooftop Bar

Not this.


What is a ballet barre class?

A class dedicated to making you realize there are muscles you never knew existed the night before. It’s basically ballet meets Pilates, but with less jumping. Or as I like to call it, graceful torture.

I signed up for the class Friday afternoon, due to a sudden sugar high from eating a spoonful of chocolate peanut butter, without really thinking it through. The panic didn’t really set in until the teacher advised me that dress code was crop pants and bare feet, instead of my usual two pairs of pants and socks.

A single person on a winter expedition in a snow storm

Happy June! Love, Michigan

For those unfamiliar with Michigan weather, it’s been like -20 degrees here for like 10 months. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but it really just started being bearable outside. Like, it was 60 the first week in June and I was so excited, I slept with a fan on.

Therefore, my predictably calm Friday evening turned into a mad rush to the drug store for a new box of razors and nail polish. It took two shaves and several minutes of scrubbing hot pink nail polish off the rug and my foot before I felt like I could face the world dance class.

Then Saturday came.

At 7:30am, my alarm went off. I had stayed up way too late reading after my impromptu beauty routine, and then spent the next hour fussing over workout clothes (read: repurposed pajamas) and building a really, solid panic. I excel at panicking.

BUT I REFUSED TO GIVE UP! I WOULD NOT BE TEMPTED BACK TO BED! Mostly because I had already spent $20 on the class and refused to waste it. That’s the price of an audiobook, people.

The dance studio was less than a mile away, however I didn’t risk walking (despite the fabulous excuse I would’ve had to listen to the Irish narrator read the raunchy part of my latest Penny Reid audiobook obsession over and over) because I figured this class was going to hurt.

Oh. It hurt.

I really want you all to feel like you were there with me. So please, allow me to take you step by step…

8:50am: How the hell do I get into this parking lot? Hmm…that sign says one way. I feel it’s more of a suggestion, right? (I did not follow the suggestion.)

Alien_Mutant_Female_618:55am: I’m clearly the new girl. Everyone here is chatting about recent events, wearing these adorable, happy colored workout outfits, and they all have great hair and refreshed skin. I’m in fraying black pajamas with sleep-crusted eyes and purple, messy hair.

8:57am: The ladies on either side of me smiled. Are those “hello smiles” or “pity smiles?” Do they know it’s my first time and this is a secret girl code warning to run? I should’ve watched Mean Girls again. I’m not wearing pink and feel lost.

9:00am: So it begins. I’m told to “check my pride” at the door. Well, I left it in the car, so we’re all set.

9:02am: Okay, this isn’t so bad. Wow, even the woman eight months pregnant looks happy to be here!

9:05am Oh, it’s time for that stretch for those of us who work on computers all day so we don’t look like a hunchback! This feels awesome.

9:15am: I’M GOING TO DIE! I think I’m having a panic attack. Asthma attack? I’m not sure. Clearly this may just be an insanity attack. Wait, YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT WITH THESE WEIGHTS?!

9:30am: *walks over to edge of floor and kneels down* It’s true. I had to take a break. I admit I stopped and grabbed my water.

9:31am: Time for legs. Legs seem less torturous than arms.

9:32am: Oh, no. I lied. WHY DID I THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?! I think my skin is smoking from how much this burns.

9:40am: The nice woman to my left looks down at my shaking legs. “First time?” she asked. I nodded on a laugh that’s almost a cry. “The first time is the hardest,” she swears. “It gets easier after that.”

It took considerable effort NOT to respond, “That’s what she said.” I couldn’t find the breath anyway.

9:45am: Am I laughing or crying?!? Laughing? Good, good.

10:00am: I AM STILL ALIVE! I’m not sure how. I’m also not sure how I’m going to get my shoes back on. Or carry my purse. Thank goodness I drove! That was fun…I think…

Is this what labor is like where you instantly forgot how terrible it was?

10:15am: I am super energized, despite not being able to do more than hobble around. Ideas for my next book are rushing like waves around in my endorphin filled mind. I work out the major problem in my rewrite/resubmit manuscript and solidify the plot for book 2 of The Lynch Brother Series.

10:30am: I sign up for six more classes. Who knew torturing oneself would be the best way to get results? WHERE ARE MY FRIENDS?! WHY AREN’T YOU STOPPING ME?!

10:31am: Do I get to buy cute workout clothes now?

I promised myself if I got through two classes, I could get cute work out clothes. And by cute workout clothes, I mean whatever Target has on sale.

Fun Fact Alert!

Fun fact alert! June 18, 2015 is known for:

  • The first full day of Ramadan (having started at sundown last night)
  • National Go Fishing Day
  • International Panic Day (DON’T WORRY, I HAVE THIS COVERED!)
  • National Splurge Day (Yes, you really DO need that book!)
  • And last but CERTAINLY not least, International Picnic Day

Cute guy and a picnic basket? You’re welcome.

No matter what you celebrate today, make it full of laughter and good books!

Wishing You Laughter & Good Books,
Heather Novak
Bold. Bewitching. Breathtaking. 

Find me at:
Twitter: authorheathern
Facebook: authorheathernovak
Website: Heathernovak.net

Author of Hunting Witch Hazel featured in Falling Hard (A New Adult Anthology).  
Heather 2D FallingHardAnthology_2500px

Hunting Witch Hazel Trailer

Available Now!
Amazon U.S.
Amazon UK

About Heather Novak, Author

Bold, Breathtaking, Badass Romance. When she’s not pretending to be a rock star with purple hair, Heather Novak is crafting romance novels to make you swoon! After her rare disease tried to kill her, Heather mutated into a superhero whose greatest power is writing romance that you can’t put down. When she’s not obsessively reading or writing, Heather is trying to save the world like her late mama taught her. Heather lives in the coolest city in the world, Detroit, Michigan, with her very own Prince Charming. (He even does dishes.)
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2 Responses to Hitting the Barre by Heather Novak

  1. Leslie Bird Nuccio says:

    Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, I so feel your pain. Thank you for the belly laugh this early in the morning.

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