This morning the phone rang at 5:30. It was the school, to say that the boys would be staying at home today. Noooooooo!
Not that I don’t love my boys and enjoy their company, but today was the last day I had to work on my novel before my critique group expected to see it in their inboxes.
Knowing that the kids would sleep in unless roused, I stumbled out of bed (at 5:30. Yes, I did) and fired up my laptop. I’d been working fairly intensely for the past two or three weeks: printing out what I had of the manuscript, cutting up the papers in to scenes, paperclipping them together and writing notes on index cards clipped to each scene. I had been writing linking scenes, rewriting scenes and making notes on what I still had to do. I knew I was close. I just needed to push on and get it done.
K appeared, at some point, to say his work was closed too, because of the approaching storm. Something in the back of my brain said “whoopee”, but I don’t think I even stopped to acknowledge him. I just kept working. The sun came up. The boys started moving around. I smelled eggs and bacon cooking. I worked on.
By noon I had been though the whole manuscript and typed up the ending I had written a couple of months ago. I was just about to pat myself on the back for being done, when I discovered a whole slew of scenes that I thought I had already written, that I had in fact only written “[this is what happens here]” notes for. Eek!
Two hours later, I stumbled, crazy-haired and unwashed, out of the office and declared my novel (first draft) DONE.
Four years, four months and four days after the first line was written.
I could/should have proof read the whole thing again before I sent it off, but I was so drained that I just compiled the text, gave it a quick once-over and sent it off.
I wrote a novel. And people are going to read it. It was a Herculean task and I feel pretty amazing for having wrangled the darned thing into some kind of shape I’m happy with. It’s a first draft. It’s not ready for prime time, but the pieces are in place and I’m happy to let people look at it in all its imperfect glory.
And I’m taking the rest of the day off.