(When I open my vein caffeine concentrate pours out.)
Monday night was a big deal for me. A very big deal months, no years in the making. But it almost didn't happen.
Life is what writer's do in-between edits and big ideas. Bills are the arch nemesis of most aspiring writers, their only real competition being computers with viruses and dried up ink pens. But the willful overcome this to claim their dreams for their own.
I always knew I had a dream of publishing, I didn't always know I could do it. And I haven't done it, yet. But with a little help from my friends (shout out to J. Engle) and never ending tolerance from my family (shout out to my homies that live in my home), I've taken the most satisfying step toward that goal.
I've finished my first manuscript. I wrote The End at the bottom of my Pages document and I meant it.
Cannot tell a lie, I was teary eyed while standing in line to print that 94k beast. Never an emotional person, I immediately remembered that I don''t have allergies, therefore; the motion of carting a box filled with months of hard labor had done something to affect me.
Memories flooded up. Memories of me slogging away in front of my Mac while the world around me watched television, read books, left the house and did fun stuff. Memories of me on numerous occasions chugging coffee at work trying to erase yet another sleepless night. I'd hide behind my coffee cup, but my dear coworker, Damjoef, always knew when I'd been up all night writing. She said it was because I'd have a tell-tale smile, right beneath my bloodshot eyes.
Memories of being halfway through my first draft and thinking I was too tired to write anymore. My life was happening, my work ringing the phone off the hook, my e-mail box miserable from being too full. My house lay somewhere underneath an inch of dust, my kitchen closed off by a mountain of dishes. Okay, it wasn't nearly that bad, but any neat freak who spends a week removed from her vacuum will feel that way. And there I sat in a house coat and sweats, upping a word count on something that only I may ever read. And that feeling is worse than the one I got from surveying my neglected house.
Actors suffer from fear of failure, so do dancers and public speakers, but I am none of them. I can only speak as a budding writer to tell you that beneath six dozen edits (maybe more) and a stack of rejection letters that could dwarf a small car, you will find a writer in the fetal position somewhere, bear hugging a half finished manuscript. And when you find that writer dig her out, dust her off, and tell her not to stop.
Sit her back down at her desk and make her a cup of coffee. Because she is almost there. And the thing she needs most right now lies at the end of her manuscript. I had the good fortune of being surrounded by people that believed in me more than I did. People who may or may not bother to ever read a word I write, but were ever ready with droves of encouragement. That is what got me to Monday night, and the best feeling of my professional life.
All those sleepless nights, compounded by the daily grind that followed them, were now justified. My manuscript is finished and now I know I can actually finish writing a book. And that is all the motivation I need to do it again.
You can do it. You can finish your book. You may end up with bags under your eyes, a dreadful addiction to Starbucks, and be so far removed from the real world that you survive a zombie apocalypse by accident, but you can finish your book. Note: Should the latter scenario occur though, I'd advise putting your manuscript on a flash drive and immediately packing it in your zombie survival gear.
Don't ever give up. Writing The End is so worth it.