5 Good Things about Finishing

I’m a born procrastinator.  It was on the Aquarius sign my mother embroidered and hung on my wall when I was a kid, and I think I took it a little too much to heart.  (“Altruistic” was also up there and I think I’m pretty good at that, even if it took me years before I finally looked up what it meant.)  But I’ve learned over the years how good it feels to complete a task, which is what I’m blogging about today.

1.  I finished a knit baby afghan last night.  I started it about 2 years ago, and I was all excited to make progress until the 20-something’th repeat of the same 8 rows, and at some point I needed to start something new and more exciting.  After the move I found the unfinished object (UFO) in a bag, and the thought occurred to me to frog the whole thing and make something else, but I was past the point of no return.  Then I moved the project to my Knit Picks Options needles, and suddenly it took on a new life!  There was also the problem that I wanted to use the same size needles on another new project, so I had twice the reason to finish the afghan.  I’ll post a picture of the finished product…when I remember to take a picture, and when I tuck in the last of the loose ends. 

2.  Isn’t it a relief when you start a project (say, housecleaning) and when you’re done, you can look back at your handiwork and say, “Finis!” and then go find something much more fun to do.  The cleaning doesn’t have to get done again for a while, either.  Unless, of course, you have teenagers or pets.

3.  I’ve heard there’s such a thing as runner’s euphoria after finishing a race or a long run.  Not being the running type, I’ll take their word for it.

4.  Ever sat back after a large, particularly delicious meal and thought, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing?”  Yup, been there, done that.  There’s also the slight regret when you realize you’re going to have to spend an extra 10 minutes on the treadmill–for the next three months–to work off that one meal, but it was worth it, wasn’t it?  (Why am I reminded of that chocolate cake we had for lunch at the NJ conference?  At the time I thought, “So there really is such a thing as too much chocolate.”)

5.  Speaking for myself and probably every other writer out there, there’s something undeniably special about finishing a book.  Not reading, writing.  It’s like childbirth only more painful, and when you’re done, you have this wonderful thing you can hold in your hands (if you printed it) and you can say, “This is uniquely mine.  I made this.  It came from me, from my imagination, and now it’s real.”  I remember one time being so high from finished a WIP (work in progress) that I danced around the house, giddy as a kid on Christmas morning.  My characters were finally alive and breathing on their own.  I probably would’ve felt the same way if I’d just climbed Pike’s Peak, without my feet getting cold.

Unfortunately, when you write The End is really only the beginning, because I don’t know a writer alive who hasn’t finished a book and then gone back and rewritten or edited at least once.  “Release Point” was rewritten no less than four times, and it needs one more pass before it’s fully polished and ready to go.  I have to shift Paul’s motivation a little, since he doesn’t actually know how he tested positive.  In my previous draft, he took the pills on purpose.  In the first draft, Grace’s name was Lily and she was a biker chick.  On top of that, “Worlds Apart” is only 60K words; I need at least 20K more to fully flesh it out, but I’ll get around to that.  Really, I will.

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