It’s a strange feeling. I don’t even know what “finished” means. I basically decided that all the threads were connected and there was nothing new I wanted to add, and I could bear it if someone actually read the thing.
I couldn’t tell you at this point how I feel about this book. I feel some sort of attachment to it, I want it to do well in the world and not get too bruised when it inevitably gets hit, but I am not sure how much I believe in it. But the truth is that the more I keep it under wraps, the more I doubt it, and as soon as it gets out there, I start to feel defensive of it. When I think of it as something that’s now independent, on its own feet, I don’t begrudge it so much. The weird little creature that it is.
I’ve been working on it since I was pregnant with my son (he is three now) and parts of it have been brewing for much longer than that. Still, it never feels like enough. I could put a few more years in, easy. But it is time. It will not necessarily become better if I put more time in, probably the opposite is true: it would become even more entangled and confusing than it already is (working on solving that problem now).
Writing a novel is very involved work and requires a lot of dedication and clear-mindedness. My dedication weavers with my children’s moods and my mind is more often than not blurred by lack of sleep and too many disturbances and distractions. Raising a toddler is not work that really goes hand in hand with writing a novel.
I used to believe that women might have an advantageous position in the writing world because they can legitimately take this break from work to raise their children and they can use that time for writing. But raising children is full time work. Not only full time, but all-time, uninterrupted, back-breaking, soul-crushing work. There isn’t much you can do at the same time. Surely, not writing a book. I mean, yes, there are some brilliant people out there who still do it and do it well; I, on the other hand, just seem to be failing at both.
Anyway, a milestone. Now the creature is already tormenting someone else. I’m free! Well, not exactly free, but less burdened: I’m no longer alone with it in the room. I might actually escape this one too!
“But raising children is full time work. Not only full time, but all-time, uninterrupted, back-breaking, soul-crushing work.” YES! So cut yourself some slack – you are raising kids AND writing – you are doing the work, not failing at all. Be kind to you!
Kindness is hard sometimes. If it weren’t everyone would do it, right? Thank you, Rachel, for your unwavering support, as always.
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