So I've finished the first draft of my third book. And if you've ever written a manuscript, painted a painting, composed a song, completed a PHD, renovated a house, or gestated a baby, you'll know how amazing that feels.
Writing a book is different for everyone. There are pantsers (as in, 'fly by the seat of their...'), who write as they go along, and plotters, who plan everything. And then there's me. I get a general idea of what I want to write about, start in a rush of enthusiasm, write 20 or 25 thousand words of a rough script with wild abandon, think "Oh my god, what I have I done", run out of steam for a bit, then pick it up again and labouriously, painstakingly, fill in the blanks.
There are times when it flows, beautifully. I can't stop writing; I resent having to get up from the computer to make dinner, do the laundry, or interact with other human beings (including my long suffering children). And there are times when it is hard, really, horribly hard, when the words don't come or a section just doesn't work and I have to force myself to get through it.
There are times I look at my word count and think, "GOD I've come far!", and other times I think "I am never, EVER going to finish this fucking thing." And inevitably, with every book, there is at least one moment when I decide the whole thing is utter crud and I have to throw it out and start again with a new idea.
But the key to finishing is this: I don't throw it out. I push on. And I finish.
Once the first draft is finished and I have my word count, then the fun begins. Because then I get to go back to the beginning and fiddle. And I love fiddling. It's just a question of fine tuning, putting a paragraph in there, taking a line out here, changing a word there, and making sure I don't use too many semi-colons. I'm addicted to them; I could use them in every sentence; they are awesome.
There is little more satisfying in life than finishing a big project. For me, it's writing books. For you, it may be something different. But if you haven't already, finish it. FINISH. Because even if this book is crap, even if no-one publishes it, even if someone publishes it and no-one buys it, even if someone publishes it and someone buys it but they give it a bad review.... no-one can ever take away the feeling of satisfaction I have right now.
And that is worth pushing on for.
(P.S. I'm not announcing the subject or title of my book until after it gets sold to a publisher. Which please god it will. Nothing will take away my satisfaction at completing it, but I damn well want to sell it, too!)