I don’t know anything more exciting than starting a new book – nor anything more scary than finishing one.
In the beginning there’s a wonderful new story forming in your imagination, growing and blossoming and spreading out like the most beautiful flower you’ve ever seen. (Yes, it’s that good.) There are fascinating characters with compelling lives and terrible conflicts and great loves and greater danger and consequences that could not possibly have been known before you came along. It’s a heady time, looking forward to filling all those pages.
Then you have to get down to it.
My routine is to write Monday through Friday, review what I’ve written on Saturday, and take Sunday off. Sounds like a regular job, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. It’s work. You may look like you’re just sitting on your ass, staring at the screen, your fingers occasionally twitching on the keys of the keyboard. But inside you’re burning calories like you were in the middle of a cage fight.
You have a whole world under construction in there, with people running around in it who don’t always do what you want them to. There’s a city and in the city are houses and restaurants and office buildings and streets and vehicles and good guys and bad guys and good and bad girls too…and in my case a couple of cats. You have to make it all real, if you can, and more important make it interesting, and even more important than that make it something that people out in the other real world, the one where you live, will care about.
All that burns a lot of calories.
Then you finish the writing and you’re getting it ready to send out to the beta readers, the friends who have volunteered to read the draft and tell you what they think. (This is where I happen to be right now.) You look forward, with some faint hope, to their responding that it’s just great, even better than the last one. You look forward, with some genuine terror, to their responding, “Did you really write this crap? What happened to you? A brain injury of some sort?”
And then finally, of course, after you’ve satisfied your beta readers as best you can, you have to put the damned thing out in the world, this world, to be enjoyed or abused by all those people who don’t know you at all. What will they say? Will they have any consideration for your tender feelings and even more tender ego? Hell, no. They’ll either enjoy the book or not; and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Ah, but then comes the saving grace of this life. Because then it’s back to the beginning again. And there’s a new flower….