So if you haven’t heard, I’m writing a book.
You already knew that, if you’ve been keeping up with me for awhile (to those who followed this blog before 2015, kudos). But for those who haven’t heard, I’m over three years into an idea-turned-almost-sort-of-a-novel-type-thing, and soon enough, it’s going to pay off.
And by that, of course, I mean I’m going to finish it and do my happy dance and drink a celebratory pot of coffee and then sleep for a year.
Yes, you read that right. I AM GOING TO FINISH IT. Soon, Like, at the rate I’m going, possibly within the next month or so. That kind of soon.
I’m freaking out.
This story has not turned out the way I planned, as is usually the case. And I’m finding now that, the closer I get to filling in all the gaps and calling it done, the more freely I’m willing to move things around, change wording, delete pieces of scenes I don’t need anymore. Which I never do, unless I have a pretty good idea of where the story is heading.
The thing is, I haven’t finished writing a book in years. YEARS. Life just got busy. I’d start projects for Wrimos and never got around to finishing most of them. Actually, the last book I started and finished, I wrote during the summer after my freshman year of college. Unfortunately, looking back, that was sort of a long time ago, now that I keep having these crazy things called birthdays every four seconds.
I remember how it feels to be so attached, and then have to let go.
I’m not ready.
I always like to say writing a book is like raising a kid. I don’t actually know what that’s like from personal experience, but it’s exactly what I imagine parenthood is going to be like for me someday. Sometimes it’s too exhilarating to be able to look away. Sometimes you just want to squish your face into a pillow and scream.
But as the story develops, so do you. You learn so much about yourself and about the idea growing and changing right before your eyes.
And then all of a sudden that tiny little idea is all grown up, packing its bags for college, not really needing you the way it used to.
Actual parents, don’t yell at me if I’m generalizing too much. Personifying the novel-writing process just makes it easier to describe to people who have never been through it before, and after years of trying, I just can’t seem to come up with a better analogy.
I don’t want to finish writing this book. It is my life. My world. When I’m not physically working on it, I’m thinking about it. All the time. Which might seem a little obsessive, if you’ve never been through this before.
But that’s what gets me through it. I set a goal to write 1,000 words a day, to keep myself on some kind of schedule even though I don’t really have a solid routine going right now. Sometimes I fly past that mark, but usually I hit it and have to move onto something else. That’s life. But it’s always on my mind. Characters randomly whisper their lines in my head. Especially when I’m trying to sleep.
I know it’s about time to say goodbye. Since April, when I started this project over basically from scratch, I’ve worried over it constantly. I know it can never be perfect, and at this stage in my life, that doesn’t disappoint me. I just wonder what’s going to happen when I finish this one, when it’s finally over.
Yet I know, deep down, exactly what will happen. I’ll close it out and file it away and return to it for editing only when I feel ready.
I need a break. I am exhausted. This story keeps wanting to branch off into a million directions, and that can’t happen. There’s only so much I can cram into one book. And there’s only so much, out of that, I even should.
I’m about to hit the 65,000-word mark, and while I know there’s probably a lot more to come, there isn’t much. I’m further from the midpoint than I realized. I’m going to guess that I really am less than a month away.
How did this happen?
I hope this feeling is normal, because it’s terrifying.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink. Follow Meg on Twitter.