I am currently working on several projects, a big one and a couple of small ones. At the weekend I ‘finished’ the latest leg of the big project. I finished the third draft, a herculean effort let me tell you. At times it was almost ridiculously easy and at other times pulling barbed nails out from my skin might have been an easier exercise. But regardless of the peaks and troughs of difficulty involved it is done.
The third draft of Man in Winter (working title) is finished.
The next stage in my process is to make some hard copies and give it to a few trusted readers, giving them time to read and review it critically and just as readers. Once I’ve got it back from them I can then start work on a paper edit (where I review a hard copy of the project, sometimes I miss things on a screen that I pick up in hard copy) probably early in the new year.
But for now it’ finished.
And I feel weird.
Normally, after finishing a big project I dive straight into my next one with no real-time to catch my breath or think about the ‘finished’ project. But this time I’m stuck, as according to my writing calendar (yes I am only happy when life is organised down to the last mini-second) I’m not due to start my next big project until the first week of September.
So there is nothing new for me to start, nothing to do but wallow in the fall out of finishing a project. For the first time in forever, I’m having to go through the entire emotional spectrum of ‘finishing’ a project, something I have avoided for a very long time. It’s such a strange experience, I feel relieved, to the point where I had a victory beer after closing down the laptop and started humble-bragging to my nearest and dearest that I had finally finished this draft. It’s been a pretty positive experience.
But not entirely positive, as under the happy excitement there’s also a ton of anxiety. My overactive brain keeps yelling at me (figuratively, if it were literal it would be very unsettling) how can this be the end of the draft? The project could be so much better! Why are you putting this down? You’re screwing this up.
The battle in the emotional spectrum is certainly an interesting experience and one that got me thinking. Is it possible to ever truly finish a project? In the current culture of constant remakes can even a project that’s been put out to the public ever really be considered finished?
Even when you say it’s finished will it ever be really? Or will you spend forever thinking “if only I had changed such-and-such” How do you silence that little voice?
A conundrum surely.