Finishing the writing of a book (and it’s NEVER finished until it’s in print) is like sending a child off to college. You’ve done all you can to make your offering as good as it can be, yet every time you open it back up (like that child visiting home) you see something you might have done differently–but it’s too late.
Having completed two novels now, with a third nearly finished, I understand why many actors never watch themselves onscreen. Like sitting in a cab in Bangkok, it’s best not to look.
But there comes a time (if you’re a smart writer, IMMEDIATELY after finishing a project) that another one is started. Like re-dogging right after the loss of a pet, taking up the life of the next novel is best while the keyboard body is still warm.
This is the best part of writing for me. I am an avid walker (4 to 5 miles daily). I love music. The natural match: flesh out a rough plot and give it a musical score. I load my best-friend iPOD with enough songs to fill roughly 90 minutes and out the door I go to feel my way through the rough draft in my head. As long as the book is being written, that score becomes my walking mantra. It helps me visualize the story, set the scenes and experience the emotions of my characters. It gets me unstuck when I hit a plot-snag; excites me when I find the open door to the next chapter.
Do you have a story sitting in your brain? Set it to music and get moving. I promise it will follow you on your trail and soon overtake you. Before long, it will be living and breathing just like you, walking way ahead, at times making you struggle to keep up.
It will be the new day of a new book.