At 6:19 p.m. this evening, I hit “send” on the latest manuscript for my upcoming unhinged memoir, complete with a fresh round of edits/fixes/tweaks/trims/adds. I mention this for two reasons. First, because as Chris always said, “There are so few triumphs in this business, you have to celebrate each small victory along the way.”
And second, because I’m reminded that WRITING IS BLASTED HARD. I wonder sometimes why I do it. It’s not as though it’s gets any easier with practice, like whistling, kissing or algebra; au contraire, in some ways it’s gotten harder, as my standards have risen (and my tolerance for dreck has declined). I would compare the anguish involved to pulling out my own teeth one by one with rusty pliers, except that at some point in the last thirty-plus years I would have run out of teeth.
And writing a book: you have to be nuts to do that. Speaking of comparisons, having a baby is one analogy I’ve heard here and there — but as a woman who has endured both processes on three separate occasions, I can confirm that book-writing takes way longer and hurts way worse. Also, no book is anywhere near as cute as a newborn, although it must be said that a book doesn’t puke on you, either.
All the same, I breathed a big, sighing gulp of relief tonight. I wouldn’t say the manuscript is finished, because that’s up to my editor to say — and no manuscript is ever truly done. You don’t finish writing it. You just stop, satisfied that you’ll never be satisfied. Then you drop in a boneless heap next to your bloody keyboard, spent but triumphant.