Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Finishing A Book . . .
. . . writing one that is.
Sunday night I put the finishing touches on the first version of THE FRIDAY SOCIETY and sent it off to my editor at Dial.
And it occurred to me, we all have our different responses to that moment. That metaphorical typing of "The End" at the finish of a manuscript.
Some writers feel a sense of loss, a kind of postpartum depression, which I can relate to as that's how I feel after a show I'm in comes down. Some feel the need the jump into the next thing, whether it's an anxious feeling of "what now??" or an elated feeling of "ooh, and now . . .!".
Well, for me . . . I feel . . . awesome.
I often compare my writing process to another activity I undertake frequently: exercise. I know I need to do it. But in the moment before, I want to do anything but. I finally convince myself to do it, and as I'm doing it I usually feel a lot of pain. Once in a while though, I feel great, really strong, really sure of what I'm doing. Most of the time . . .pain, hard work, struggle, a sense of "I'm never going to make it." Then, when it's over, I feel so proud of what I've done. I feel physically fantastic and mentally I feel a great sense that what I did was exactly the best thing I could have done for me. Also I feel exhausted.
So when I finish writing a book, the first thing I feel is a massive weight off my shoulders. I feel light, I feel elated. Okay, let's be honest, I feel a little giddy. I also tend to sleep really well that night. I relish the time I now have to do other things in my life. I finally picked up a book for the first time in ages (my relationship with fiction changes drastically in the final moments of writing a book and I can't read a word of it . . .for many complicated and ridiculous reasons). Sometimes I panic - "Adrienne! You can't just sit here! You have a novel to write!" And then with a fabulous relaxation I remember, "Actually, no, no I don't."
My life is filled with projects, so the lack of writing a novel doesn't leave an empty spot for me. Instead I feel incredibly proud of myself. And stunned too.
Many of you who follow this blog know the story of how I became a writer, and how it wasn't exactly the expected path for my life. So the fact that I have now completed 5 novels, blows my mind. So yes. I feel proud.
And of course a little scared, as I am nervous what my editor is going to say (just because I finished writing a book, doesn't mean the book is any good - and when you're so closely tied to something, it gets really hard to be objective about it after a while), and I anticipate the hard work when the edits come back . . .
But right now, I just feel awesome.
Now that I've shared :) I was hoping others of you would too. We are all individuals and how we write and how we feel differs widely. So, how do you feel when you complete a writing task (doesn't have to be finishing a book)? I'd like to know.