It is done.
At 5 AM on Wed morning, I finished the first draft of my manuscript. (The week before, Andy kept telling me to “Finnish” my book. So that’s the note I left for him at 5:01 AM.) But while finishing the first draft IS a big accomplishment, it’s also just the beginning of a new phase: editing. Such is the nature of writing, that each milestone only leads to the next, and your work is never really complete.
Because of that (and because of my extreme exhaustion) I had a hard time feeling celebratory. Don’t worry! As the day wore on, and the enormity of my 87,000 word achievement sunk in, I did find myself smiling, and my heart dancing, just a little bit. But it wasn’t this big carefree, elated high like I was expecting.
The best way I can think to describe it is this: I put up the walls and the roof. Does that make it a house? Technically. It contains all the necessary elements — kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms. But it’s not ready for anyone to come inside yet. I still need to put in the doors and windows. (Not to mention paint and furnish.) You wouldn’t hold an open house for a building with no doors and windows, would you?
What you might do, though, is drink a glass of wine with a good friend to honor the fact that, no matter what happens next, you built something. Not just a vision or a blueprint, not just a foundation or a frame. A real house with rooms and stairs. A place that people could someday live in and love. Yes, it’s got a ways to go, but damn, look at how far it’s come.
So, friends, will you raise a glass with me?