Updated: May 25, 2020
Writing those final two words at the end of my manuscript was done so with little to no fanfare. The wordless celebration was short lived. There was, however, a wave of relief that spread throughout my body once the first draft had been completed. The solace, bittersweet as it was, was overshadowed by the looming knowledge that there was so much more work to be done.
I was congratulated by those that were told of this milestone. I thank everyone who reminded me that completing a novel is no easy task. It was a good feeling, don't get me wrong, but I had already spent over a year and half writing my young adult epic - I wasn't excited about the thought of undertaking another lengthy journey, especially if it involved editing, querying, promotion, cover design, and formatting. And then editing some more.
The reality for any author is that you could pour your soul into a project and it could never see the light of day. It's enough to discourage anyone, but the whole risk/reward thing is old news. As is the fact that if it's your passion, you'll do it regardless of success (however you define it). So, sure, I allowed a moment of back-patting. There is nothing wrong with partying after you win a conference championship game, but just remember you still have to play the Super Bowl, too.
To any other aspiring writer reading this, I just want to say I feel you. The struggle couldn't be any more real. Whether or not I'm a fan of someone's work, if an author gets their stuff published, then they have my respect. I know professional writers are doing little dances of joy knowing they've earned such high praise. I give big ups, tips of many hats, and finger guns of approval to anybody who figures it out because it isn't easy to break through in any creative field.
One of the main reasons it's so difficult to even stay the course is, to put it frankly, ain't nobody got time for that. I placed a huge gap in my blog updates in order to focus on finishing the manuscript. Even then, my availability was sparse: on top of working a full time schedule, my wife and I care for our baby boy - not to mention I'm going to school for illustration and design. Oh yeah, I started a new podcast as well. Friends informed me that because of all these endeavors I am allowed a grace period of sorts.
Can you imagine actually relaxing? What kind of crazy person accepts what they can and cannot control?
I think of my spare time and pursuit of getting published like this - there's a scene in the movie Apollo Thirteen where the ground control crew dumps all the same parts that the stranded astronauts have onto a table. The scientists and engineers determine if the equipment has the right stuff to bring the heroes back to Earth. Spoiler alert for the film that was based on true events, but they essentially "MacGyver" a rescue mission together from bits of metal, shoestring, and some bubblegum. This is how I feel when it comes to somehow putting the final touches on my book and eventually making it available for purchase.
My story is about a teenage superhero so I should've probably used a comic book reference, but, hey, that's what editing is for. Speaking of, it's time to resume proofreading. Break's over, time to clock back in.