This past Tuesday I finished my novel. Well, okay, not finished, finished… but I wrote the ending. My word count is just shy of 50,000 and I’ve nothing more to say. It’s finished.
When I was near the end, I cried. And cried. And cried.
You would think that finishing writing my novel would be a cause for celebration, and it was… later. But after almost two years of kicking, screaming and proclaiming that I could write this novel… I finally finished it and the result was an emotional release I had not been forewarned about.
It doesn’t hurt that most of this novel is loosely based on childhood events I experienced with my best friend. That means I used certain moments from my own life in the lives of my characters. While it certainly helps with the word count and to get the story out there, it sometimes also means delving into emotional moments you’ve long forgotten.
With that said, I want my best friend to know – this isn’t a memoir! But the connection she and I had… have, is deep and emotional sometimes. And I think I captured that relationship in this book with my two main characters.
The final push of my novel writing came from a great group of friends who’ve been working to encourage each other to write “one page a day” for the month of August. I wrote my one page faithfully almost every day and it helped me finish this book once and for all. It’s amazing how a little push and encouragement can get you moving. Thanks ladies.
Anyway, after I sobbed for a bit (which I started as I wrote the last 200 words or so and made those last words very difficult to write…), I proclaimed my accomplishment to the world via Facebook. Then I texted one friend and told her we were having lunch together as celebration and another friend to tell her we’d celebrate this weekend. Then I emailed my hubby to share the news with him.
On Facebook, I got the much needed congratulatory responses. My friend hugged me fiercely when we met up for lunch and my other friend texted me with all caps and exclamation points. My husband? “So glad to hear you were able to wrap up your YA in a satisfactory manner.”
Humph. Must have caught him after he’d just written a very strict and professional business email. But I’m sure he’ll celebrate with me later… or else.
In any event, I spent the remainder of my day immersed with some writer friends who understand me completely (after I took a shower, while still sobbing, and cut my leg while shaving). I laughed at my friend’s stories without my own story looming at the back of my thoughts. I could truly just… be and enjoy the moment without that constant nagging in my head, “finish your novel, finish your novel, finish your novel…”
Then, I splurged on a peach-flavored fruit smoothie (YUM) and wrote this blog. Later, I plan on sharing some bubbly with the hubs (or with myself if he’s uncooperative).
I can’t explain to anyone who’s never written something of this length how wonderful this feels. I wouldn’t have understood it before this myself. I was astonished when I cried and even felt a little foolish, but another writer friend told me she always cries when she completes a novel.
Always? That gives me pause. Do I want to complete another one?
Anyway, I know I have a long way to go until this novel is actually “finished” – I have to get some editing done, you know. But it’s compiled and formatted enough right now for my beta readers. I can’t wait (I think) to get their feedback, even though I know it’ll mean more changes. It’s a process I’m ready for despite the possible discontentment it might bring. For now, I’m basking in the glow of the semi-finished product and celebrating my tiny achievement. (And will wait a day or so before sending it off to be critiqued.)
Next, it’s time to work on the Bible study book I’ve also been working on. I hope it doesn’t take two more years of my life, but I know, no matter how long it takes, I’ll cry when it’s done, too.