There was reason to celebrate here yesterday. I sent my book manuscript to my amazing editor at Norton.
15 months of writing, 3 years of research before that…4 years total. And with one swift tap on the “Send” key, there it went.
I can tell you that my writerly friend, Sandra Gulland (Josephine B series and Mistress of the Sun) is completely right when she says the last stage of writing is like entering a wind tunnel.
I’ve been very disciplined as I worked on this book. 2 hours a day+word count quota on teaching days; 4 hours a day+bigger word count quota on non-teaching days. That is the only way that I know how to write well.
But here it was on Saturday morning, Halloween no less. The house was filled with happy hub-bub as my daughter and my mother were baking cookies in the kitchen, with my husband laughing along with them. I wanted to be with them. But it was as if the book was tugging on my arm so hard that I knew that I had no choice but to yield.
And that’s when the computer stopped working.
In a frenzied panic, I gathered every book and notebook I could hold and literally ran to my office at the university. It was 1pm on Saturday. I emerged at 6am on Sunday. The draft was done.
Early last December, my friend Christine spent 5 days here at the house for a “writing boot camp.” She camped out at our dining room table, I settled into my study. We emerged every two hours to read and critique each other’s work. It was intense.
Christine brought a lovely bottle of wine, and we decided I would not open it until the manuscript went out. All writers have moments when they are not sure that they can do it. When those moments came, I would look at the bottle and find my resolve again.
Last night, and almost one year later, I opened the bottle. It took only a second to hit “Send” and just another second to hear the cork go “Pop.” But it’s hard to imagine anything more delicious.
…except for those homemade cookies that my mom and my daughter made.
I know that I’ll have plenty more work to do once my editor has a look. But for now…I do feel as if I have survived the wind tunnel. Life is good.