When I first finish a novel or story, I feel good about it. It's as if, once the revision letter is addressed and the manuscript is out of my hands, it slowly begins to gather to itself a sort of halo, a glow of being done that automatically makes it "better" than any novel or story that's not done.

This doesn't only happen at the final, take-no-prisoners, no more changes allowed stage, but at the previous stages of doneness as well. Well, maybe not the zero draft. Post-revisions is when the halo is brightest. But even in the intermediate stages, it's comforting to remind myself that finishing has its own rewards.

There are a couple of possible reasons for this to happen. One, distance makes me forget the tiny details over which I sweated weeks ago, and I only remember the high points. Two, the novel or story never was that bad, I was just being hypercritical, and distance lets me see the novel as it truly is.

Regardless, after a little time has passed, I find myself wanting to read my own work. It's best not to give in to the temptation, because soon enough I'll be slogging through page proofs, and I'll need every scrap of enthusiasm to do so. Until then, it's best to just bask in the feeling of a job well done.

Sometimes I think more than half of writing is convincing yourself that you're a writer and you can write.

Posted by Victoria Janssen

Filed as: The Writing Life