Quick Note on "Finished"

Editing an English language documentMy author friends will appreciate this, and anyone aspiring to write a novel might recognize this, too: Last night, I thought I'd check in with my amazing editor, Wendy Beckman (who I highly recommend ...as long as you don't jump in line and send her a novel before she gets mine). I wanted to make sure she had time in her schedule to edit my upcoming novel because I've finished the first draft. "...finished the first draft."

I couldn't help but laugh at the layers of ridiculousness in that statement.

First of all, the finished first draft is over thirty drafts on my computer, plus a huge document of digital notes and all the handwritten ones. There will be many, many more revisions and edits before Wendy ever sees it, too. Plus, there's the whole concept of "finished." It's never finished. I could spend the rest of my life preparing new editions of the last book, switching a word here, paring down a paragraph there, beefing up a chapter or cutting another. At some point, you have to hold your breath, clench every muscle in your body, and push "Send."

I was lucky. My wife, Paige, gave me the encouragement to push that button last time. This time, I think I'll point her to the computer, leave the house, and have her hit that final button herself, then come back when the emotional dust settles, give her a giant hug, and maybe cry a little bit from relief.

It's never done.

It's never finished.

Celebrate the steps along the way.

Now back to work.