Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Tipping Point

Part I:

So I did it. I didn't think it was a possibility today, but I showed up and it came. I finished the first draft of my novel.

I don't know quite how I feel. I know I'm not done yet. I also know there will be many, many rewrites but I have accomplished a huge goal. I actually finished my book.

So why am I feeling so glum?

Actually I feel quite overwhelmed. It's like my brain is empty and I'm not sure how to fill it up again. It is the strangest feeling I have ever had.

I laid down on my bed and I could feel the adrenalin pulsing through my veins. I thought perhaps it was a surge in estrogen but I think it was all the energy stored in my body and no identifiable outlet.

And I'm a bit afraid. It would be so easy to stick my novel in a drawer and forget about it.

Sending out to be read and critiqued seems like walking up hill with a huge rock on my back.

I can't quite get to the place where I could actually imagine someone reading my words and enjoying them. That seems so far fetched.

It's lonely inside this head tonight. I have said good bye to the characters that have filled my dreams for so many restless nights. What will I dream tonight?

I began this blog claiming the need to begin the first day of the rest of my life. I feel as if I have begun a new journey, one that took a sudden turn tonight, a turn I was not prepared for.

Part II:

So, my mind quickly filled with marketing schemes. I thought about illustrators and agents. I wondered if my manager could really sell my book. Do I need to find a literary agent? Endless questions and worries plagued me all night long. And I had dared to think that my brain was empty.

Reflecting on my last 24 hours I realize that part of what I experienced was a feeling of isolation. When I have finished big projects in the past, films that I've produced or even television shows that I've completed, I always have had people to celebrate with. It's not just the "BIG" wrap party but a colleague you can hug, or a collaborator who shares your concerns and your happiness at having completed a project.

Last night, in a house filled with my children and my husband, I felt all alone. I have always heard that the life of a writer was very lonely, but now I understand what that means. Of course my husband was excited I had completed my book and my kids gave me 'high fives.' But, inside I had nobody to really share the experience with because it was a task I set out to do on my own.

Today I went out and bought a new pair of jeans, a tee shirt and an amazing vest. I got myself out in the world and it felt good to part of something bigger than myself.

Balance is my new mantra.

How do you strike balance in your life? Do feel lonely or isolated writing? How should I celebrate the completion of my book?


  1. WooHoo! Way to go!
    Can't wait to read it!
    Keep us all posted on your progress. Check out:
    This may answer some of those questions buzzing around in your head!

  2. I feel very alone in my writing until I share it with people -- then I feel very engaged. Embrace the solitude of your accomplishment knowing that you did this all by yourself. It is truly a feat. And you dont need to say good bye to these characters because you are bringing them to life and making them real for others besides yourself. That is probably what scares you the most. But a HUGE hug to you for doing this which is more than most of us can lay claim to. I am very proud of you!

  3. Terry, you had to confront and overcome a lot of fears to write that book, so of course there are a lot of mixed feelings in finishing it. I live a pretty lonely existence as a writer, mainly because I know that if I don't send something out into the world, I'm kind of instantly NOT a writer anymore, then I'm a journaller, or something like that. If I didn't leave the house to exercise each morning, I'd go mad!

  4. Congratulations Terry! That is an amazing accomplishment and EVEN IF you now put it into a drawer, never to be seen again, you'd know you had done it. Finished it. Achieved a goal. And no one can ever take that away from you. Could there be a writer's group in your area that you'd be interested in joining to share the ups and downs of a writers life with? Or is that just not something you do in LA? I'd think just like a moms group is a great community for lonely moms, a writers group could do the same. In any case - you should be so proud - a toast to you! And I think your purchases today were a great way to lift your spirits too!

  5. I cannot wait to read this! I have been thinking about it ever since you gave me a "sneak preview" at lunch several months ago.

    You should take great pride in what you have achieved! There is a certain satisfaction in knowing you can accomplish something that so few others can.

    I have a hard time keeping up with him, but I believe my brother in law is a literary agent. Let me know if you want to pick his brain about anything.

    Would love to celebrate with you over a glass of wine!


  6. Oh, I'm so excited for you; that's a big deal! Being a writer for so long I can tell you it's a lonely job. I have to try to be my own cheerleader and it's tough. So let us be your cheerleaders! Way to go! YAAAY!!
    Okay, now get back to work.

  7. Celebrate by acknowledging how inspiring you are to other 50 something year old women who understand the challenges of meeting such lofty goals. You are inspiring to me. Teresa

  8. Yay, Terry! I'm so excited for you.

    I know that feeling of let down that can happen after we've achieved something we've worked for for so long. But I agree with @Emily: your characters and your story are still alive. That fact is one of the great ones about being a writer. Your story will live on every time a new person reads it.

    Proud to be a member of your cheering section!


  9. YAY! Congratulations from another member or your cheering section! I too can't wait to read it. And know that once people start the reading/reviewing process, you will get jazzed up again because suddenly other people will know and care about your characters.

    I think it's kind of like going through pregnancy and childbirth alone (I can't imagine!) and there are so many exciting things you want to discuss and share with the 'other parent' and there is no other parent. You are the only parent to this child (book). But we can all be aunts and grandmas and cousins, who love your baby too. :)

    Can't WAIT to read it. And know that you've inspired me to get going on my MG novel too. This week I've read an advance copy of a MG novel for a friend of mine (loved it), found out another friend sold his first MG novel (after writing three amazing YA novels) and now my friend in LA finished her manuscript...I have to get going!


  10. Terry, I think I will bring a bottle of wine over to celebrate with you? Let's pick a date! I have a couple of friends who just finished a book and had it published. I can totally get some information from them if you want. I can't wait to read it! Congrats!

  11. This is SO major. SO big. And I can relate to almost everything you write here. Yes, writing is a wonderful - and very solitary - endeavor and necessarily so. Our fictional worlds exist in our heads and on our pages. At this stage at least, they are not accessible to others. And yet. We get so caught up in these worlds, we come to care, really care, about what happens within their bounds, how the characters fare. And there is something so complex about completion. About acknowledging the final period on the final sentence. There is an undeniable moment of depression that it is over. But it isn't... You will revisit your friends and your world and then hopefully we will all meet them someday.

    CONGRATS! Don that cute vest and break out the bubbly!