And the million dollar question is…did she or didn’t she finish the novel? Did an act of God call the whole thing off? Was that The End of our hero’s journey?
No, it wasn’t the end because YES, Mrs. Mouthy finished the draft of her novel!!!
Okay, now that we’re all done celebrating, let’s look at how she’s feeling about it all.
First of all, I wish I could just say, “I finished my novel!” But I can’t bring myself to do it. I’m too wizened for that. I say, “I finished a draft of my novel,” which doesn’t feel nearly as nice because there’s a huge difference between a draft of a novel and a novel.
My friend asked me if I had a romantic moment like happens in the movies when the movie-star-pretending-to-be-an-author types (always on a typewriter, for some reason) T-h-e E-n-d.
Doh! I forgot to write The End! I missed my chance! But I couldn’t bring myself to add those words to the draft because it feels anything like the end. There’s soooooooooooooo much work to do. Am I a pessimist or a realist? I don’t know, but either way, I wish I were an optimist.
I followed my writing coach’s advice and took a month off after not writing The End. The month was up, and I couldn’t bring myself to print it because I knew it would open the door to a particularly violent, ruthless crowd of mean voices, so Leo did it for me.
Ctrl + P, and there it was, in my hands:
After 2-1/2 years you’d think I’d have a manifesto, but here instead here is my draft, weighing in at 9-5/8 ounces and standing .5 centimeters high.
Pro tip: If you ever write a novel, do not weigh and measure it. This is a masochistic thing to do.
Then I read my first chapter. I was happily surprised that my comments included a lot of, “Wow!” and, “That’s really good!” Me? Saying that about my own work? What is this—a post-apocalyptic world?
I should have stopped there though. I read the second chapter and my comments were all, “This sucks! You suck! Everything sucks!”
McStreamy suggested I tell the “you suck” voices to put a sock in it because they’ve never written a novel. McStreamy is a good friend.
It’s hard because with the quarantine and home schooling my boys, I have just enough time to realize how much work the novel needs but not enough time to fix anything.
I’m full of worries and doubts. What if it’s too hard to edit the novel? What if I’ve gotten everything wrong? What if this takes the whole rest of my life? What am I going to write when this one is done? Do I even like writing novels? Will it get easier? Can I both be a writer and be happy? Was I born to do this or was I born to only do it once? Will anyone else like my book? What about the haters? What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of my life?
I’ve decided that yes, I like writing. I love writing. I write pretty much every day of my life. Do I like writing novels? Jury’s still out on that one. I want my words and stories to be shared with a big audience—to make that connection and to create connections between my readers, to make them think and wonder, to learn something, sometimes to laugh, sometimes to cry, always to feel something. I want the payoff. I just wish there were a way to make the hard work part of it more fun and less Medieval torture chamber-like.
In the meantime, while I figure all that out, I guess I might as well go ahead and edit the novel because despite all my doubts, behind all my pessimism, under all the self-deprecation, at my very core, are a whole bunch of words waiting lovingly and patiently for me to let them out.
And also because, as proven earlier, I am a bit of a masochist.
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Grilled salmon with Indian spices
Crusty brown bread