From my Newsletter, Late Spring 2010
I have worked on many books. I should say I have worked on many ideas that became manuscripts that became books. I know from all this experience that the closer you get to the end, it seems, the more there is you realize has to be done. This can be very frustrating! You think you have a finished manuscript that just needs a couple of things added, or a few facts checked, and it will take a week to get it done. Three months later you are wondering what happened. It’s a little like the night before you are getting on a plane to go on a two-week vacation and you realize how much more there is to do than you thought, and you are lucky to get a few hours sleep by the time it’s all done.
This is the energy of completion. It is very different from writing in flow, or some of the more creative parts of writing. It’s the nitty gritty, slogging through the muck part. You just have to keep going, putting one foot in front of the other until it’s done. Yes, there may be an element of avoidance, an element of fear of having it done. But it’s also just what it takes to finish.
This is the time to think of the song in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming! What do we do? We swim!” Or if hiking is more your thing, this is the time to keep your eyes focused in front of you on the next step and the next step, and not look up to see how far you still have to go. Because there’s just a lot of details now, and there’s no way around it. They just need to be done. And you probably don’t have the option of putting the rest of your life on hold to do it. Or maybe you do, but it’s still a lot.
This is the time to make checklists and check items off so you can see your progress, and keep moving through without stopping. Moving forward is key. And then, finally, it’s over and you have handed it off, and the next step is the one many of you have already envisioned in one of my classes: the moment the doorbell rings and the UPS man hands you a package, and you open it up to find your finished book!