What, Me, a Book?

It’s interesting that it’s Labor Day weekend — because this is when I actually finished my book.

Yes, I did submit the behomoth on Memorial Day, almost a year since I’d started it, under contract.

“Aren’t you excited?” everyone asked. (Well, I posted on FB that I submitted, so it was my fault.)

Yes, I was overwhelmed with emotion. The night that I’d finished — Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, actually, so I could take a vacation — I sat at my workspace, nearly alone, combining my 25 chapters into one document.

And then, unexpectedly, the minute I dumped chapter 25 into the doc (AmyFinal.docx), I burst into tears.

The head of the workspace rushed over to me to make sure I was alright. But I couldn’t talk. I pointed at my computer — he probably thought I’d lost a file — and tried to smile through my tears. It was like a ball of worry I’d been carrying around for a year, the how the hell am I going to do this?, finally loosened.

I never thought I would be able to do it. Sure, I’d submitted a detailed proposal, outlining all my intentions in a chapter by chapter summary, but I had no clue how to begin, how to continue, and how to keep working on such a long project with no real deadlines And yet, I guess I’d done it. I DID IT!

Sort of, actually.

There was some stuff missing. Mainly, chapter 22, a chapter on my favorite doctor, who had died unexpectedly, but that’s a different story. I got an extension for the chapter. So I wasn’t done done.

Then: a month and a half of silence. Nothing from the editor. I could’ve finished the missing chapter and the various floating parts (an interview here, a sidebar there) but… I couldn’t. I lost my voice for two weeks, I showed up to my workspace and I stared into space. I didn’t have anything left to say.

Funny Story: My seventh grade teacher assigned us a project I was super excited about. I went home that night and mostly finished it. But I didn’t. I left it for the night before, rushing around “like a chicken without a head,” as my mother said.

Same here. Somehow, the summer passed, with edits going back and forth, and a final version…due on Labor Day.

Just like the me in seventh grade, I finished up everything that was missing, crossed my T’s and dotted my I’s and submitted my book. I WAS DONE! There were no tears, no big sighs of relief. It felt anticlimactic.

Maybe that’s what it feels like to be done.

Author: Amy Klein

Amy Klein is the author of "The Trying Game: Get Through Fertility Treatment and Get Pregnant Without Losing Your Mind," (Ballantine, 2020) based on her New York Times "Fertility Diary" column. Her writing on health, science, reproduction and essays has also appeared in Slate, Salon, The Washington Post, Aeon and more.

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