I spent several hours at the coffee shop yesterday and injested too many calories in the form of cookies, lattes, and mango smoothies. The extra calories were worth it - I finished writing the ending chapters of a twenty chapter children's book.
While I worked on the last chapter, my children went Christmas shopping, walking from store to store in the strip mall that housed the coffee shop. I thought it would take me an hour to finish the last chapter. It only took 30 minutes. I texted my daughter with a happy message that I was finally done with the first typed draft of the last chapter. She responded with a "Yeah!"
And that was it. That was all the hoop-lah I got for finishing my book. I expected more, not necessarily from others. My husband did comment, "So you finished your book," during dinner. "Yep," was my response. It was all very disappointing and very anticlimactic.
It was like graduating from college without a job and saying, "Now what?" It was like getting married to someone you already lived with and returning after the honeymoon to see that nothing had really changed. It was like getting a promotion in name only, with no extra pay or responsibility, just a title.
I was, however, filled with a happy and confindent certainty that I now am undeniably a writer. In fact, I was a writer last week too - and the weeks before that. Nothing really changed when I typed that last word except I met my goal, which feels good but is not as life changing as I expected.
The funny thing is that the idea of being a writer and completing a piece has always been anxiety-provoking for me. What if I won't get it published? What if it's not good enough? What if no one likes it? What if I run out of ideas mid-stream? What if I'm not capable of tying it all together to finish it well enough? What if I suck?
None of those worries were valid at all. Finishing a story is separate from all of those things except being able to come up with a good ending. The fact is only worry can really keep you from running out of ideas and finishing a story well. Once you are in the zone of writing, the plot seems to write its way through you as you write if you let it.
I will write today with confidence as I dive back into this story, editing the story chapter by chapter until it is ready to send to a publisher.
I am thinking there's not going to be fireworks and excitement when/if I get it published either - just money and another story to write.