Any day now, I’m going to finish my novel. ANY DAY now. I’m just not sure what day that will actually be. It’s a very weird process coming to the end – the writing itself is slowing down considerably as I weigh the implication of every choice these people make, and how to work those choices into the conclusion. I find myself typing more and more slowly, and having to redirect my brain back to the task at hand (finishing) instead of pondering all the revision that’s going to be necessary.
The last few days, as I’ve worked on the book, I’ve felt a little sad. I chalk most of that up to exhaustion – I’m finally catching up on sleep – but I think a small part of it is true sadness that the first draft is coming to the end. I can’t really put it into words – it’s just, as I type, I feel a little sad. Maybe sad isn’t even the right word – perhaps, bittersweet? Hmm.
The hardest thing for me to fight right now is dwelling on all I believe to be wrong with the novel. I mean, that’s for revision, right? I can fix all of that in revision! I think about the extraneous characters who need to be excised (sorry!!), the narrative threads I left dangling chapters ago when I realized they weren’t true to the story, basic things like I have to change several of the characters’ names because I inadvertently chose names that all sound the same – and I worry, too. RIDICULOUSLY – I worry, like – once I send this sucker out, what if people don’t understand my choices? Like, will they GET Anna, the narrator? Will they understand why I made her the way I did? I spend a lot of time obsessing about Anna and whether she is accessible to readers, not because I made her high-falutin’ but because she’s sort of um, well, distant, in parts. That might be bad, in a narrator.
Then I wonder if all this obsessing is just a way to postpone finishing. I mean, none of the above really matters in terms of actually writing that last sentence – all of it will be dealt with during the revision process. It’s amazing what we do to distract ourselves from the actual finishing of projects!
I think my biggest, deep-down worry, is that I’ve written a bad novel. Like, laughably bad. But then again, so what? If I really feel that way I don’t have to show it to anyone! I can just get started on the next book, right? But it would be sort of depressing to spend TWO YEARS on something that sucked.
Ugh, I’m all over the place with this. I know I just need to write the last few graphs, hit save, back up, go print out a copy, and put it all out of my mind until after the 4th of July. Well, out of my mind as much as possible given I have to do some research for it and I also plan to do some different work while it rests, like reread my favorite books to understand why they are my favorites. BUT. Until then. This is what I have to do: finish the last few graphs. Hit Save. Back Up. Print Out Copy. Okay – stay tuned. I’ll let you know when I’m actually done. Thanks for listening.