Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Writing Race

Finishing a book is a great accomplishment and to me there is nothing quite like getting to that final page and then that final paragraph and those last few words. And then it’s done! Time for a big sigh of relief. But I always find myself feeling something else as well. Not just the sense of accomplishment, but a feeling of sublime exhaustion, like finishing a long, tough endurance race.
Writing a book can be like a race in many ways, a long distance race. You start out with a great sense of purpose, excitement, a drive to get ahead and to get off on the right foot. You’re excited, full of energy and driving forward at all costs. You have ideas, you have the thrill of that starting gun, that first blank page in front you and you’re off!
Since this is not a sprint, you eventually have to settle into a rhythm in your running or you’ll use all that energy and fall behind. The same is true for your writing. You need to fall into a rhythm, constantly driving forward with purpose. You can’t afford to slow down too much and your writing should be that way too. Every chapter should be your best, just as you would run a race, pacing yourself, but keeping every step, every page fresh.

And then you get to the middle, when your final goal is not in sight and you want to slow down, just get some air into your tired lungs and your legs are threatening to turn to lead. Sometimes your writing can feel that way too, like there is no end coming and you’re wandering around with no place to go. The story is growing stale, and you have no idea which way you are going. Will it ever end? But you keep on trudging along and you keep on writing until you make that final turn.
Now the end marker is in sight and you’re ready for that final push. You find you have enough stamina to get some unknown power into your tired body and thrust yourself forward. The climax of your story is looming and it gives you that final burst of energy to write with renewed passion until the words are flowing quickly and you find new strength you didn’t know you had and you’re sprinting toward the final goal.

And then it’s done. The final paragraph, the final sentence is writen, the finish line is crossed. You did it! You finished the book! You completed your race. You collapse in exhaustion and with the knowledge that you pulled through
That race is finished.

As you might have guessed I finished a book this week. It was actually a long hard edit, but it’s a great feeling, because I know that book is now written, edited, off to my agent. And I can relax.
Well, not too much. I have a sequel to work on....

How do you feel when you finish a book? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I've finished two books. I must say that upon finishing the first, I was amazed more than anything. The second, however, like I had beat myself up (in a good way), excited, and reflief. Kind like after a hard workout, or run. Whatever other feelings I felt, they were overwhelmingly good, and I can't wait to feel them again. On to book number three.

    1. Go get 'em, Johnny! That is such a great feeling to finally get it done. Good luck with book number three!


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