I'm done. I just finished my second novel. I took three days off work to do a polish on a scene that was troubling me. It's still not perfect. But my agent was wise enough to give me a deadline and this is me meeting it. I could edit this book forever.
I think I've made an announcement here before about being done (or maybe on Instagram?) but, as every writer knows, there are many stages of doneness. This is perhaps stage five of doneness, and there will likely be five more stages of doneness before (if) this book ever sees the light of day.
I was going to write something stupid about the stages of doneness. Something like...
1) First draft. It is bad. But it is words. Celebrate with a toast! (A piece of toast; you don't deserve champagne.)
2) Second draft. This is better. But it is still not good. Celebrate with a dance in your living room. (By yourself, of course, because you have alienated all your loved ones in the process of writing this book.)....
But F that. I'm not going to expend creative energy on something that undercuts this accomplishment. Which is what I ALWAYS do.
This book was five years of hard work and struggle, and I have no idea if it's going to get published. It was a huge challenge. I was intimidated by my own book, which I didn't know was possible.
It was hard every single day; some days it actually felt impossible. But it was also a joy. I've had so many aha moments over the last half decade with this manuscript. So I am very happy to be "done." But I'm also scared. It's a tough time to be a novelist. Social media hoards are questioning most authors' authority to tell stories, throwing the relevance of the novel itself into question. But I'm passionate about this story and I'm proud for the depth of my research, for my reasons for writing it, and hell yes, I am proud for finishing.
It's an insane undertaking to write a novel. But it's the greatest thing ever, too. I've learned so much while writing this book, and I've grown so much. So, no matter what happens, I'm grateful.