I have just sent an email to my editor at Hodder, Emily Kitchin. Attached to the email was my completed, copyedited manuscript.
In other words, I have just sent back what should be the final edit. The book is, theoretically, done.
Last night, as soon as I made the last tweak to the MS and closed the Word file I whooped out loud with joy. I immediately sent a text screaming “I’m finished!” to the one person I had to tell. I sipped a G&T. I felt relief, pride, accomplishment and a huge surge of adrenaline.
What a pleasure it would be if that proud state of bliss could reign on.
But I’m a writer and, therefore, cursed/blessed with the same duality of emotions that plague most in the creative industries.
I still feel all of those wonderful things: they are coursing through me at a delightful rate but, alongside them, is another set. A visceral sadness that I have finished. A nostalgia for those characters whose lives I have made up and written down. And an abject terror that I have missed something. That if I gave it one more complete rewrite it would be so much better. If I could just have another six weeks…six months…six years it would be so amazing and oh my goodness it’s not ready. In fact, it’s awful. Just plain awful. I need to rewrite it from scratch.
The feeling is similar, actually, to how I felt when the first twinges of contractions set in before my daughter’s birth. The hallelujah this pregnancy is over and I am finally going to meet my child, blurred somewhat by the feelings of no, no, no, stay inside little one, you’re not, I’m not, the world is not ready quite just yet.
Whereas, my protective nature for my novel is not quite as fierce as that for my children, it is pretty damn close. This novel has seen me through some of the biggest changes in my recent history. Writing it gave me the courage to change my life, I got to know myself and understand myself again. I have many acquaintances who have marvelled at my ability to write a novel when so much in my life was changing. Those closest to me know that it was writing this novel that saw me through some of the toughest few years of my life. It was my crutch, my goal and my future.
And whereas, the writing will always be there, this novel will never be written again. I will be letting it go and that is rather frightening.
In times such as these, I repeat a mantra to myself. It is the same I use when I am nervous about anything. It is simple and to the point and goes something like this: all will be fine.
Take a deep breath, close your eyes and say it to yourself.
All will be fine.
Because, and trust me on this, it will be.