It's perfectly, totally logical to me now. duh! Perhaps there were other factors at play. It was a typing extravaganza that didn't finish until 4am. I babysat two of my grandsons (aka Tasmanian Devil and Speedy Gonzales) the evening before and the day following. And I awoke Sunday morning and realized that I hadn't eaten (yet again) all day Saturday. I must remember to eat!
Of course, I experienced many other things as well: the thrill of completion, the disbelief that all those months of pounding keys (most notably "Delete" and "Backspace") had paid off, and an immense sense of accomplishment. I fully expected to be walking on cloud nine for no less than a week! And I am feeling like a zombie who can't even dance Michael Jackson's Thriller.
And what frightens me most is that I have a good feeling of what's coming next: the roller coaster of doubt and insecurity. The nagging notion that this would have been a really great story if someone who knew what they were doing had told it instead. The fear that the writing is good but the story's a total dud. Horror at realizing that what agents and publishers request are the three worst chapters I have. And of seeing the word "AMATEUR" rubber stamped in red ink across the face of the front page.
I keep thinking, Is this a writer's version of postpartum blues? Well, I'm a guy; my wife did all the hard work in that regard, but I do feel like I just gave birth to my firstborn. (And a whopper at that!)
Maybe all that is normal too. I know I can write, but did I write this draft well? I know I can tell a story, but did I tell this story well? Am I writing this post while exhausted? You betcha. It was necessary. I wanted to capture the full gambit of emotions. And it's a little therapeutic as well, I think. The best cure for a self-doubting writer is to write, right? So...
Hello. My name is Jeff. And I'm an amateur writer.
It's okay. I'm comfortable with that for now. All professionals began as amateurs. Could I have written the story better? Sure. As much as I strive for perfection I fully realize that perfection is an unattainable goal. Is the book too long? Maybe not for an established author, but it is for an unknown who is seeking publication. Will I learn as a result of having written this? Undoubtedly. Have I already learned by writing this? Oh yes, loads of stuff.
So, I guess that makes me a successful amateur. An exhausted amateur, but a successful one. I'll strap in for the roller coaster ride, but I'm happy to finally be able to climb aboard. I'm happy to have completed the draft. I'm eager to begin the revisions and edits. And I'm happily plotting my next book.
This amateur has a newly found respect for those who have accomplished the feat of completing a novel. And a newly found confidence that you--yes you--can do it too!