Welp, that is that. After slogging through 10 months of various levels of productivity and distraction, I finished the first draft of book 5. And I feel…happy, I guess?
Completing a book is a strange event. It’s a lot like finishing a half-marathon. (It may be like finishing a full marathon as well, but I’ve never run one of those.) Near the end of a long run, the gas tank is empty. Your internal pep talks have become ineffectual. Everything chafes. The only thing that gets you to the finish line is stubborn determination. You force yourself to grind out the last hundred steps to get to the end.
And grind I did, to the tune of 110 000 words. That is a whole lot: in fact, it’s the longest thing I have ever written. Keep in mind, the thing hasn’t seen the merciless eye of the editing process, so the word count is going to change. But for now, the size of the book 5 word heap is 100 grand and change.
You may have noticed that I’ve referred to it by the rather uninspiring title ‘book 5’. That is because a real title hasn’t jumped up and bitten me on the nose yet. Actually, a title did present itself months ago, and I was excited to slap it on as a working title: “The End of All Things”. And then I googled it and found John Scalzi had already used it for one of his books. Dang it. (I still like the title and am tempted to use it, reader confusion be damned)
I should also mention it is the final book in the Spellbound Railway series. Not only did I finish a book, I wrapped up the whole series. You would think that I would have a tremendous sense of elation, accompanied by a wistful melancholy. It took me about 10 years to write all five books. Ten Years! A decade of work! I am getting old! Ah! Wait, that’s a different topic. Nevermind the oldness.
But even though I referred to the book writing process as a gruelling feat of endurance, this one wasn’t as exhausting as previous ones. I think my writing muscles have become stronger. No amazed declaration of “I can’t believe I actually finished!” this time. I can believe it, because I’ve done it before, and I’ll keep doing it.
Wait a second….is this what being confident in your own skills feels like? Weird.