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.