Twilight of the World Sea People is now a completed draft. The last chapter is nearly 11,000 words long, which means it needs a measure of pruning, and the last couple of paragraphs need the spice that makes all good endings savory, but these things belong to revision and not to drafting.
I've read that other writers have a catharsis of sorts at the end of their projects, but all I can think about now are the problems I'll be addressing in Monday's work; the two thousand words I wrote today (2,000! I was motivated!), the last couple of paragraphs, whether or not I want to spin one of the hooks for the next novel differently, etc. I think today I was just a word machine. I wanted to be done, done, done.
I have requested beer and apple pie from my husband, who called me after I IM'ed him a moment ago and made all his office-mates cheer into the phone. Tomorrow and Sunday, I'm scrubbing my house and car until they are gleamy and smelling of soap. Later next month, when the revisions are done, I'll find something celebratory to do, probably involving Cape Breton.
What's next for the book? Chapter and section passes, and then two passes through the manuscript; one for edits and one to make sure it's all done. How long will it take? Not sure. As I've said before, it's not a rough draft, so I don't have to slog through it page by page. Samhain? That would be an auspicious time, and doable, if I hustle.
For now, however, I have something important to say about writing upon the occasion of my first completed novel. I didn't do this in a vacuum. I could not have written this book or anything like it without the love and support of my husband, the kindness of the many people who allowed me to interview them for research, the mentors who helped me to sharpen my chops, the people who cheered me on and the professional writers who taught me by example that it was possible to be successful and still be decent human beings. No matter how this book fares in the world, I have much to be grateful for, and big shoes to fill.
Now I'm going to put in a load of towels and leave you with a Zen proverb I find especially relevant today:
"Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."