I did a thing.
Just under two weeks ago, I completed the manuscript for Radio, my latest novel.
That meant I got to break out the celebratory scotch, reserved for just this occasion, and share some with my wife. Woot!
Aside from an excuse to break out the good stuff and heave a massive sigh of relief, there’s a really important understanding that comes from finishing your work and I think it’s important to recognise and hold onto that feeling.
I’m talking about the the understanding that you are, indeed, a writer.
It’s insane how unwriterly I can feel while I’m in the act of writing. Imposter syndrome can be debilitating and there is no cure quite like finishing your work.
One of my favorite quotes on writing, credited most commonly to Dorothy Parker is “I hate writing, I love having written.” I relate to this way too much. Writing is hard, for a lazy guy like me, doubly so, but the satisfaction of staring that bastard of a manuscript in the face and saying, “Bam! I finished you. I beat you. I won!” That’s a good feeling.
It’s also important to remind yourself that finishing, at this point in the process, doesn’t mean perfecting. Perfection in writing doesn’t really exist anyway. It’s about having something to show for your efforts. Hundreds of pages filled with tens of thousands of words, all produced by you. That makes you a writer under any definition. Quality is another question and that comes later. For now it’s important to sit back, have a sip, and enjoy having written.