The Stages of Completion

 

The kitchen of a writer whose mind is focused elsewhere. Also, a pretty good representation of what i imagine my mind must look like.
The kitchen of a writer whose mind is focused elsewhere. Also, a pretty good representation of how I imagine my mind looks.

This circus tent has been quiet for a while, I know. My energies, all of them (I might have three total), have been occupied almost entirely by the effort to complete the first draft of my novel. Would you like to know what the inside of my mind has looked like these past few weeks? Here are some of the stages of completion I have observed, and the thoughts which accompany them.

 

The Syncing

All of the pieces are falling into place like obedient, enchanted puzzle pieces.
I’m so focused I forget to eat, and push through days subsisting on nothing but keifer and tiny bowls of peanuts.
Words skate across the page with grace and speed, landing every jump, twirling with all manner of metaphorical wizardry.
This is stupid fun! I think. I can’t believe I get to do this every day!
What a great song! It matches the rhythm/texture/emotion/atmosphere of this scene perfectly! I shall put it on repeat.
I finish my word goal by the end of the school day, and I reward myself after the kids go to bed with a bubble bath and a glass of malbec.
The Sinking

A stomach virus.
An unhealthy intake of Parks and Rec, Chuck, and The I.T. Crowd.
One of my main characters takes on the qualities of both Amy Poehler and Zachary Levi. I wonder if there’s room in the book for a Maurice Moss-type character.
I have no appetite. I subsist on keifer and tiny bowls of peanuts.
The words are like toddlers on ice skates. I have no power over them to do anything, even stand there in a line, like normal words. Still, there they are, waddling and wandering.
This is stupid, I think.
I can’t believe I couldn’t reach my word goal all day and now I am sitting here at 9:30 at night, dozing over my iPad. When did I get so slow? When did I get so old?
I can’t remember the last time I bathed. And I’m out of wine, as evidenced by the empty bottle sitting atop the neglected and toppling recycling bin.
I hate this song.

The Breakthrough

Giving up and going to bed at 9:30 means I am awake at 5:00 the next morning. My characters are sitting around the table when I walk out to the kitchen. They have brewed a pot of coffee for me and hand over my notebook and pencil.
I listen intently to everything they have to say.
I take notes.
Im so excited I accidentally stick my fingers into the glass of keifer instead of the tiny bowl of peanuts.
I get 635 words of a fresh scene down before the house begins to stir.
I treat myself to an over-large iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts and am a little buzzy the rest of the day.
The sweet-smelling threat of successfully finishing has me giddy, and giggling, and convinced that my dragon in the game of Tsuro I play with my husband sounds just like the Jetson’s car. (He does not agree.)
I hear that familiar song on the radio for the first time, and I turn it up, sing along.

This is a lather, rinse, repeat kind of process. It has me spinning, but still moving forward, so I only complain a little, because I do, after all, still love it.

The Break

74, 817 words and I. Am. Done.
Sooner than I thought, with things left unsaid and an eye on the rewrite.
If I can handle it, I will not look at it for one month. I will muzzle my dear and imaginary friends.
I will nap.
I will read whatever I want.
I will listen to whatever I want.
I may never eat peanuts again.
And the next time I play Tsuro, my dragon will still sound like the Jetson’s car, because why wouldn’t it?

The kitchen of a writer who just finished her first draft. because, let's be serious, I was not going to spend my newly freed time cleaning up that mess.
The kitchen of a writer who just finished her first draft. Because, let’s be serious, I was not going to spend my newly freed time cleaning up that mess.

 

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One thought on “The Stages of Completion”

  1. A belated congratulations to you for finishing your first draft, a most impressive achievement! This post is so funny. It’s reassuring as well to know that others out there at times get so lost it what they’re doing that they forget to shower and eat. It’s usually at that point that I realize the kids have been subsisting on potato chips and dry cereal, waiting for me to snap out of it and make them eat real food!
    I’d like to hear your dragon (I love the Jetson’s car!)

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