This morning, I wrote the final line (at least for now) of my new middle grade fantasy The Map That Can Twist Time. I feel amazing. And tired. I also feel tired. But it’s the kind of tired that comes when you’ve done something hard but worthwhile. You know that feeling, right?
It’s a feeling I am hooked on, have been since I started writing essays years ago. The feeling intensified when I began blogging a decade ago. (Oh my word, the things I wrote then. They’re all here if you want to look, but don’t look!) Completing something – there’s so much energy in that. Accomplishment is a powerful force.
But it’s a feeling I haven’t always had. I’ve started and stopped so many projects – a farm journal, a baby journal, a couple of novels, numerous essays. The problem – at least for me – is always the middle. The middle is ugly and clunky and feels like I’m dredging through waist-high mud in a thick fog. In that muddy middle, I feel like the book is terrible, that I probably can’t write, that I’m a total fake and should just quit everything I love because I’m fooling myself.
The middle is a big, fat liar. But a persuasive one.
Finishing has taught me that. It has taught me to revel in the thing done and to celebrate the end. It has taught me that the middle is not the book and that my perspective in that middle is very, very skewed. Finishing has taught me that it’s worth it to get to the end, even if the middle really does need a lot of work. (And for me, it does. I do beginnings and endings pretty well. My middles are pretty smooshy.)
So finishing this book draft today is a victory. It’s a rush. A thing to be celebrated (even as I prep to go back in on Monday – I always give myself a few days away for perspective – to revise). Celebration will involve some form of chocolate, I know that. Maybe a nap too. I may go THAT wild.
And the best part, I get to start again, wade through another middle, and finish another book – I may even do that tomorrow. (Murder mysteries under a pen name – I’m SO EXCITED!!) There’s nothing like this writing life, friends. Nothing like it.
Now, talk to me of finishing. What does it feel like for you? What keeps you from it? Are you as hooked on the feeling as I am, or do you want to be?
An update on my quest to sell 1000 copies of Love Letters to Writers by the end of 2019. I sold a few copies in the past week – 5 to be exact – so good but not good enough. I need to sell about 5 copies a DAY to reach this goal, so I’m going to be kicking up the ads and strategizing new methods of garnering sales. Feel free to offer suggestions, too. 🙂