I wrote the last word of my novel in June of 2016. At that point, it had taken eight years to get there. As I mentioned in previous posts, the holdup wasn’t actually creating; it was getting rid of my fear of failure. That was a lifelong process I suppose, but I really got there about eight months prior to that. Once I was able to clear that hurdle, then I got into the habit of writing 500 words a day, even if those words were terrible. The day I was finally able to declare the book finished, I was laying on a hammock at my parents’ house and had my laptop with me. I think my dog was in the yard too, chewing on a stick or something.
I didn’t necessarily set out to finish it that day. I suppose I knew I was close, but I don’t recall putting any pressure on myself to get there. That was another byproduct of overcoming my fear: I was focused on the process, and not the results. I work in real estate and I try to take that same approach there too. Even though I know better, I have found myself losing that focus! It is very hard to do. But I am always at my happiest when I prioritize process over results. In the months leading up to finishing the book, I was doing a really good job with that. I was simply enjoying the writing. It felt like it did when I was a little kid, when I put zero pressure on myself because I thought I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted, and just wrote because I loved it, because I knew no other way.
When I wrote the last word, I was filled with sort of a surreal excitement. I closed my laptop, jumped up from my hammock, and ran into my house to tell my mom. Of course she has been a part of the journey from the very first time I created a story and decided that was what I would do with my life, so she was ecstatic for me. I’m really glad I was at their house so we could share that moment together. I’ll never forget it. I wonder if it will feel the same way when I finish my second novel. I guess it’s time to grind and find out!