I’ve been talking a lot of smack about being nearly done my novel on this blog. I’ve even set deadlines, and adjusted deadlines. I’ve made promises, on here, and to my friends. Finishing a novel is always easiest in theory. You can have everything mapped out, everything planned to last detail, but nothing prepares you for the end.
I’ve reached the end. I’ve been there a few weeks now, with the final task of revising the last third of my book looming over like the unending rain clouds that seem to plague my city as of late.
Let me tell you what I wasn’t prepared for. I wasn’t prepared for the completely irrational fear of finishing. I’ve had the tedium of working on the same project for so long, the depression of thinking my crap isn’t good enough and the excitement of nearing the finish line. But I have never in this journey been afraid.
I didn’t even recognize at first that what I was feeling was fear. When I finished the last of my chapters, I was surprised and then saddened when the sheer joy didn’t come. I knew I should have been elated, but instead I was left feeling rather anxious. Irritated. For no reason.
Over the past two weeks I’ve realized what that bubbling irritation was. I’m petrified of failing. I’m a chronic under-achiever – my higher-than-average marks always prompted me not to try in school. I am far more known for never finishing what I start. But this – to come this far only to face the free-falling chasm of what’s to come after one finishes?
I’m not ready.
This isn’t some story I threw together in a matter of months. It’s something I’ve meticulously crafted over the course of two years. Two years. What if that doesn’t even show? What if it’s just another sub-par novel that has little chance of being picked up? what if all of those hundreds and hundreds of hours have added up to merely something any monkey with a keyboard could write?
I don’t know if I can handle the rejection. I’m not talking about the inevitable rejection emails, I’m talking full-on realization that this one is just not good enough – it’s time to move on.
I’m paralyzed at the thought of handing out copies to the friends and family I asked to be peer-readers. I’m sick to my stomach knowing that a handful of chapters lie with a good friend, cousin and artist who, for some ridiculous and unknown reason, has volunteered to illustrate what lies within my pages. I’m stuck here at the computer, on the day I set to finish my revisions, typing to you instead of doing the work that needs to be done.
I don’t think I’ll ever be ready.
But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Is anyone ever ready? One could argue that most people don’t even attempt their dreams. I’ve opened that door – I’ve started my attempt. What happens if there’s no bottom to this chasm after I finish this leap?
I’m never going to know until I try.
So here goes…