To give you fair warning: this is a process-y, journal-y type post. Maybe you can relate to it. Or maybe you can’t at all. It starts well and ends well, but the middle is kind of muddy.
Last Thursday morning, with minutes to spare before having to catch a bus to Minnesota’s Great Get-Together (The State Fair, yo), I FINISHED my novel.
I felt giddy, jittery, excited, and nervous. I was nervous that I might not really be done, but jittery excited because in reality, I knew that nervous thought wasn’t really true. I almost delayed jumping the bus to the fair, thinking it might have been better to assure myself that it was done, but I’m glad I didn’t. And the fair all day with my siblings, nieces, and nephews? Perfect distraction. Came home and husband took me out for a celebratory dinner. I was still jittery excited at that point. I stayed up late to do a final read through and proofread of this latest section before sending it to my friend and critique partner, Jen.
That was Day 1.
Day 2 offered “Post-Exciting-Event-Letdown” which I expected and it wasn’t too bad until Pandora played a song from my writing playlist: “Her Diamonds” by Rob Thomas and I suddenly started crying for missing my main character, Ana. Whoa. I was a goner for the rest of the day. I have been living with my characters and their story for over a year and I was done writing it. So sad. I mean, I know I’m not actually DONE with my characters and their story since there is much editing ahead with deletions, revisions, and maybe even some minor additions, but the finality of it all exists.
I spent a lot of time re-reading different sections, and re-reading yet again. (And yes, I see the ridiculous redundancy there, but it is actually pretty accurate in this case – this should tell you my state of mind at this point.) Logically I knew I should just close out the document and leave it completely alone for an indeterminate amount of time, but I was in mourning.
Day 3 was better, except that it was a Saturday and Saturdays have been writing days and I had nothing to write. Didn’t help that I hadn’t gotten much sleep and some family issues had cropped up, too. A couple of people rightfully asked about writing other stuff. I say rightfully, because of course I will write other stuff. But not yet. I did indeed close out the document. But then I opened and read my “Sampler Sunday” post. And then I read through documents that had feedback on them. And then I read through my document that stores my notes and mostly unused draft items. I felt like an addict. STEP AWAY FROM THE NOVEL.
Admittedly, reading through feedback told me two things:
1. I might secretly hope that the 68 pages I sent to Jen totally miss the mark because then this means I’ll have to go back and write Ana’s story again.
2. When I tell her (and my sister-in-law, Diane) “Oh, there’s no rush. You’ve got a lot going on, no worries,” It is really code for “OMG HAVE YOU READ IT YET??? WHY NOT? WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR LIFE. IT’S ALL ABOUT MEEEEEEE!”
Forcing myself to write this blog post. Realizing that almost every single person who reads this may very well think I am a narcissistic freak and to get over myself already which is why I must publish this because they are all correct. I’m almost there. 😀
In fact, I am returning to the excitement of being done with the story and the fun anticipation ahead with perfecting it.
And how about a little “Smoothie Song” from Nickel Creek to remember, “it’s all good.”