I finished writing a book this morning.
I've been working on the thing pretty much every day since September and when I haven't been working on it, it's been in my head, snippets of dialogue in the supermarket that I scratch out on the back of my grocery list, and sudden cold sweats in the middle of the night when I realize I've got a gaping plot hole, and moments of excitement when I snap together pieces that just might solve that gaping plot hole issue,
but mostly it's day after day of psychologically girding myself, gearing up to write, and fighting back the demons in my head that whisper why bother why are you doing this it's stupid and pointless and opening up my lap top and writing anyway.
You think when you come to the end of the book you've been writing for eight months, you'll want to whoop it up. Drink a bottle of champagne. Tear out of the house shouting I JUST FINISHED WRITING A BOOK!
The truth is nobody really cares.
Also, the house is a gigantic mess because you've been neglecting it for eight months and suddenly you can see the layer of dust on all of the furniture and the tumbleweed sized dog hair balls in the corners and the fact that you've been wearing the same clothes for possibly days? and when was the last time you showered?
(Don't answer that.)
So, there's tons of stuff to do and after you take a shower and put on some different clothes, it's time to get to it. Answering a bajillion emails and taking care of business-y stuff and never mind figuring out what to do with this Thing-- the inevitable revising once you get it back from your critique partners-- and Hey! It's time to query it! and what will you write next? yadda yadda ya...
One of my friends asked me the other day, when I told her I was getting closer to the end of this draft, how I was going to celebrate.
Confession: I'm not big on celebrations.
I'm not sure what it is exactly about celebrating that bugs me. The expense? The party-planning aspect? Anything to do with cake and glitter? Plus, it feels a little narcissistic to me. (See above: nobody really cares.)
I don't mind participating in other people's celebrations.
This weekend, for example, my son's graduating from college, and my husband and I are throwing him a party. A graduation is a Thing worthy of celebrating. The culmination of years of hard work and study. The marking of the movement from one life stage into another. An opportunity to hang together as a family, as friends, as a community to acknowledge the person you love who's done This Thing.
Writing a book, while it feels monumental at times, is so much more solitary. Especially when there's no guarantee that anyone will ever read it. It's like running a marathon in the dark. You don't get a certificate of completion. There's no stage to walk across. No graduation cap to throw into the air. No Congratulations to The Book Writer cards in the stationery aisle.
*throws all the glitter*