So after ‘finishing’ my book in September turned into another two edits from mistakes and clumsy writing, here I am again, in February, ‘finished’. There are many layers to ‘finishing’ a novel. It’s a bit like tax returns, you have the five second joy of completion, and then the awareness that the next lot are due in a few weeks. So who feels like this at the end of a ‘finish’?
- A writer’s equivalent of trench-foot, trench-attitude: a carousel-ling low that editing is endless coupled with the nagging question of when will writing be diagnosed as the mental illness it sometimes feels it is?
But it gets worse. On my last free day before the half term holidays, (I teach, so all my holidays are spent with all my children all of the time) I think, go on, treat yourself. A reward for ‘finishing’. So I start thinking – How should I treat myself? Thanks to my addiction to motivation literature, the question is immediately mixed up with another – how do I use my time well? A shortlist emerges –
- Consider opening a bottle of cider at 8.40 in the morning as a rock’n’roll nod to my teenage years spent on tour with a covers band, which saw us regularly open bottles of beer at 7 in the morning.
- Go to London for a trip out, – why else do I live here if I don’t want to see it?
- Go for lunch – fish and chips and maybe a pint.
You’ll note all these are solos. More about that another time. But my eyes finally light up with the solution (I’m not looking in a mirror but I can feel the knowing glow). How do I really spoil myself? How do I really go over the top and show selfish indulgence for coming one step closer to the bookshelf with my own book? Here it is:
4. Go back to bed and read a book for an hour.
Honestly. Heaven. Maybe that’s how I know I’m such a writer. I can’t stop reading. More than word count, rejection slips or even ‘finishing’. I know I’m a writer because my one chance of freedom away from the desk and I take it to jump into the work of another writer at another desk.
How do you know you’re a writer?
Please leave comments and say hello. Good luck in finishing and rewarding.