I finished the manuscript, yes, as you can see by this post containing the very few words I had left after. I made the deadline, which is good enough, but, more than that, I was able to make the deadline with a manuscript I’m happy with. Which, to me, who actually made herself physically ill due to intense stress during the process, feels huge.
After turning in the manuscript, I updated my Facebook status—because how can you have a Big Life Event without updating your Facebook status?—and then leaped up and had about five minutes of all-smiles, hopping up and down in front of e like I’d gone manic. Then I slowed and calmed and took stock of the situation. Fact is, I’ve turned in a draft, but revisions will soon follow. So maybe I shouldn’t celebrate for real until after that. Also, I am not near finished: this writing career is just getting started. I have to write another book, one closer to what I hope to make of myself, and I have to get an agent with it, because I have to do it the right way next time, because real authors have agents, and I have to not let myself get distracted by anything, and I have to I have to I have to…
I can’t stop, can I?
That night I couldn’t fall asleep. I felt numb.
E said sleep in the next day, he said take a break. And I tried. I made a gallant effort by sleeping in Monday morning. But I couldn’t sleep in today.
I’m thinking this manuscript is Part 1 of a two- or three-step plan (I can’t decide what the third step is supposed to be?), so I do think my five-minute manic celebration was deserved, but now I have to get back to work. My determination won’t let me stop and rest.
I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone else but me.
Let me put it this way: Is there anything you’ve ever wanted most in the world? Something you’ve dreamed of since you were a kid? Something you carried with you through everything you’ve done in life? And you tried, and you got knocked down. And you tried, and you got knocked down again. And you kept trying, and you kept getting knocked down, and you thought it would never happen, and you thought maybe it’s time to give it up, and then, all of a sudden, you had a shot at it. A shot you didn’t expect. A shot a little off to the side and not exactly what you’d planned but close enough. So you thought, How badly do I want this? And the answer was still: more than anything, ever. So you gave that one single promising shot all you had. You tried like you’d never tried before. And you got a yes. But the yes was a test. Can you really do it? And you just spent months proving that you could. You ran yourself ragged and worked at it on the sidelines of your regular life, and you pushed and you pushed and you made it, you did. You just had a taste of your dream. One. Single. Taste. Do you really think you can just walk away now, take a break?
Well, I can’t. Why in the world would I?
Day after turning in the manuscript I was at work, my usual desk, my usual routines, though someone did bring me a cupcake for lunch—and she did it because she knows I love cupcakes, not because she knew I’d finished the book. So it was a normal Monday, all except for the fact that I just wrote a book! Work was normal work, no balloons—even though I just wrote a book! A few kind people remembered, and said congratulations, but still there was work to do and so I dug in. Only, I had a difficult time getting into the day. It’s like I couldn’t remember what had happened just last week, like my head was still numb from all the writing. Two people came in and bombarded me over where something was. I drew a complete and total blank, even though it had just come to me Friday. It was like Friday was one life and over the weekend I became something new. Friday was light-years behind, belonging to some other person. I stumbled, trying to remember what they were talking about. Then I remembered. I looked at them—and they didn’t know and wouldn’t care that I just wrote a book!—so I was just like, Can I get it to you tomorrow? And they were like, Okay fine. And they left, and I thought: What were we just talking about?
So, like I said, no balloons.
But when I turned in my manuscript, my editor wrote back totally understanding my intense excitement. She gets me. I also asked, tentatively, because I can barely believe it, is this book still planned to pub in Fall 2009? And she said YES, Fall 2009. Seriously, who cares about balloons, Fall 2009!
What’s next, you ask? The YA novel I started for last year’s NaNoWriMo—the first and only time I’ll probably make an attempt at doing that. After much consideration, I have decided to throw out the 150 pages I wrote last November and start from scratch—though not entirely. A short story I workshopped this summer has a lot to do with it. This new novel is going to be IT. I feel it. More on that later.