Philosophical Monday: The Demons at the Finish Line

finishlineSo I’m on what should be the last week of my 2nd novel rough draft. I started the Tri-Weekly habit in January. And a little more than 3 months later, I am nearing the first finish line, so I should be estatic, right? Wrong. As you’ve probably discovered in your own lives by now, finishing is the absolute hardest part of any long-haul endeavor.

One of my favorite bits in The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield is when he talks about how the demons go buckwild whenever you’re nearing the end of a project. If you thought the naysaying voices in your head were bad before, look at how they become downright vicious when it looks like you might actually finish something.

And this is especially troublesome for writers, because when they say 90% of writing is rewriting, what they really mean is 90% of writing is Finishing. When I finish this rough draft, I’ll put it in down for a month and work on something else. Then I’ll bring it back out in May and do a 2nd draft, which at 5 pages worth of rewrites a day, will take another 90 days, because I’ll have to pop out a baby in late June.

I will show the 2nd draft to exactly four people: my writing exchange partner, my husband, my best friend, and my book editor. It’ll take between 6 to 8 weeks to get all of those notes back. Then I’ll do a 3rd draft, which I’ll then send off to my copy editor — another month. Then I’ll make her changes, which at 10 pages a day will take add another month and half to the process. And finally this book will be finished sometime in February 2010, not because I think it’s the best piece of literature on the planet, but because I will be so effin sick of it that I will declare it finished, so that I can move on to my 3rd novel, the spin-off sequel of 32 Candles, which in a fit of never wanting to get a letter from an actress’s lawyers again, I’ve decided to call, America’s Daughters.

So really this week is just the beginning of the big finish. And the demons only get worse from here. This, my dear friends, is why there are a lot of masterpieces, sitting unfinished in drawers and desktop folders today.

This is also why everyone has a story about starting a big project then petering off before they can finish it. This is why there will always be relatively few yoga, dance, or fitness masters. And this is why we all can tell each other about the ex that we stayed with anywhere from 3 months to 30 years after we knew the relationship was over.

It’s hard to finish things.

But wish me luck.

On a somewhat related note, on Thursday after our first 3rd Trimester appointment, in which Betty was declared healthy and head down (yea!),  CH and I were trying to decide where we wanted to get our 4D ultrasound done. Just in case you haven’t heard of a 4D ultrasound, this is basically a super-special ultrasound so clear and powerful that you can basically see what your baby looks like before they’re born. We had gotten several really good recommendations for places to get this done. Los Angeles has everything from super-posh 4D spas to low-end, no-frills 4D factories, where you can just walk in and walk out with your sepia stained prenatal photos at a discount. But when we were trying to decide on where to go at our traditional “Yea! Betty’s okay” post-appointment breakfast, I said, “You know what, let’s not get a 4D ultrasound. I want to be surprised.”

I’m not a particularly romantic person IRL, so even I was surprised to hear myself say this and perhaps even more surprised that I actually meant it and haven’t even been tempted to change my mind, even though I’d been looking forward to the 4D ultra sound since my first trimester.

I guess I want to wait until she’s finished to meet her.