Diary of a hopeful author: Keep your mind on the finish line & you’ll make it to the end

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

 You know when you feel punch drunk? That feeling when you haven’t touched a drop but you’re so tired you feel like you’ve tanked a bottle of wine and 2 tequila chasers. That’s how I feel today. Exhausted. Yawning. Cream crackered.

But it is with good cause. It is with such good cause that I don’t care for the tiredness, I don’t care for the heaviness that I have in my arms, a heaviness that is making it, right now, tricky to type like I am using my laptop in mud, a tiredness that will make sure I keep this blog post short because I just can’t, well, see.

The cause is this: I have finished my second round book edit. Finished. I like that word. F.i.n.i.s.h.e.d.  Thank the lordy lord. Last week I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I looked at the amount of pages I had to get through, the fact that I had a busy work week, the fact that, deep down, I knew I wasn’t 100% well. But I had given myself a deadline. Easter. The Easter holidays are coming up and I wanted this book done. Complete. Finito.

But I was at that point, last week, were I couldn’t see the end. So I did something. Now, I suspect this sounds loopy, but it worked. For me, it worked. What I did was this: I wrote out the words ‘The Finish Line’ in a big marker on a piece of paper and stuck it to the wall in front of me where I sit with my laptop.

And that was it. I was off. I went in every day last week and I saw those words. They stayed with me. Even when I wasn’t at the laptop, those words, like a good friend in hard times, they stayed with me.

It worked. Each day last week that phrase did the job as I ploughed on through the edit, throwing words to one side, cutting, re-writing, shifting scenes. It got to Monday and I had a few miles left, but for the first time I felt the finish line was around the corner – and there was no stopping me. It was a bit like the way I run a half marathon – as soon as I get to the last three miles, I know I’ll  make it and, even though I’m shattered, I move, I go faster.

And I went faster with my writing. Yesterday, Tuesday, I started at 5am. I worked on through. I got a call from my daughter’s school at 11am – she had a headache, could I come pick her up. I got her, had a cuddle, put her lying down watching DVDs, eating cake, then I began writing again. I stopped for the school run for daughter number two at 3pm. I fed, watered kids, sat with their homework, ran their bath. Then 7.30pm, I fired up the laptop, poured a glass of wine and went for it. And at midnight I had finished. Like I said, fast. I’ll admit now, I had a little cry.

So that’s it. Book edit 2 is done. Next is edit number 3, but this should be a quick one. Stylistically, I have ironed out the novel, so edit 3 is checking continuity, clarity, that kind of thing. Then there will be one final edit, edit 4, for a proof check and, rather like a car, a final wax and polish, if you will, of the writing.

Today is newspaper column writing. My hands hurt. My knuckles, finger bones, they physically throb from typing, but what the hell. Tis no problem at all. Because I have finished. I got to the finish line. And now, I can hear the kids are up, and the day has started. Where’s my coffee? The sun is shining. Here we go…

How do you keep yourself motivated to finish? Let me know.

 **Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

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4 thoughts on “Diary of a hopeful author: Keep your mind on the finish line & you’ll make it to the end”

  1. I’m so happy for you Nikki! Sit back, have one or t…oh what the heck, three of four glasses of wine and savour the moment! You’ve earned it and we’ll be there to cheer you on every small remaining steps of the way! I raise my (fifth) glass to you…

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    1. Three or four glasses of wine it is! I’m off out for a natter in the pub with my friend tonight, so we’ll raise a glass of Shiraz with you, Sir. I’m soooo relieved I’ve got this 2nd edit out of the way. Sure, there’s another couple of edits to go, but they’ll be relatively quick – the hardest work is done. Phew. How are things with you? Canada keeping you well? Cheers for being a great buddy with all this nutty writing. Nikki

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