“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” -Leonardo da Vinci
Those of you who’ve been following my blog, or those of you who got here by following the link in my ebook, will know that I’ve recently published a book that I’ve been working on for quite a while. It’s called The Devil’s Mouth, and it’s on the the Kindle store.
Having begun this post with a quote about art, I have to stipulate that I think it’s a stretch to call a book about a katana-wielding rockabilly cowboy vampire hunter “art.” But the sentiment still applies. Is anybody ever really finished with anything creative? Or do you just get sick of it, or run out of time? If Leonardo da Vinci were here today and he took a look at the Mona Lisa, he’d probably have to go get his paint brushes and touch up her eyebrows or something. Fun fact, da Vinci worked on the Mona Lisa for over ten years. Because it’s never perfect. And if (like me) you’re working on your own schedule, the only deadlines you have are the ones you impose on yourself. So it’s almost impossible to draw a line and say that something is done. But eventually you have to.
And damn does it feel good when you finally do.
It’s been a long road. From a rough outline, a crazy idea and a few scribbles in a notebook, to a finished, polished final product, something I can look at and say, “I did that.”
After reams of paper, printer cartridges, notebooks, pens, drafts and drafts and drafts, revisions, proofreading, beta reads, feedback, revisions. . . it’s done. It’s done.
While it’s incredibly validating to see the finished product, to hold your book in your hand and see people enjoying it, a large part of the satisfaction is just having the damned thing finished. To know that the product has shipped. The bird has flown. I can’t change it now it I wanted to, thank God. Even though I can’t read a sentence of it without wanting to shuffle words around, I can’t anymore. It’s out of my hands. It’s done.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the process, or I wouldn’t be doing it. I love creating. I love watching these characters developing, seemingly of their own accord, the plot twists that surprise even me. I love the lightbulb moment while I’m washing dishes or taking a shower. I love getting dialed into an editing trance and realizing that it got dark while I wasn’t paying attention.
For me, there’s always a part of my brain chewing on stories. I’ve probably got five or six going now. They come and go as they please, plot elements bouncing around in my head like bingo balls, searching for the right configuration, waiting for the tumblers to line up. They were there even before I started writing. Hell, that’s probably why I started writing. Because the only way to get rid of them is to write them down and finish them.
Still, The Devil’s Mouth has taken up the majority of my imagination RAM for quite a while. There’s a peculiar feeling of lostness, like my brain doesn’t quite know what to do now. My imagination is like that old guy in The Shawshank Redemption who got out of prison and didn’t know what the hell to do with himself.
It’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. But it’s a strange feeling all the same. It’s done.
Welp, time to get to work on the next one.
7 thoughts on “The Joy of Being Done”
Congrats, must be great to hold the finished product.
There’s a peculiar feeling of lostness, like my brain doesn’t quite know what to do now. < as for that, yeah I got that, after my fifth draft was finished and I'd received beta feedback and emailed it to agents…then the slump came. Kinda weird, just from a book. Who woulda thought?
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Thanks, man! Doesn’t mean much as far as critical success, (it’ll be a while before I break even on this little venture) but it’s super duper awesome to be able to hold my book. I feel like I magicked it into existence. Funny how much we put into these things, then once we key go of it, we’re left feeling a bit rudderless.
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I calculated roughly how many hours it took me to write my first manuscript (not including lit agents and publishers, once they get a hold of it, once they read their dam inboxes 🙂 ) and it was about 240 hours + likely more, one heck of a commitment, but worth it I’ll bet. I’ll get a copy next week on Kindle.
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I second the above. Congrats. It is an exhausting and sometimes seemingly endless endeavor to get to that point, but I still know no greater feeling of satisfaction than what I experienced when I finished the 5th draft of my first novel. I still haven’t got a manuscript request (query letters be damned) but that’s a different issue. Congrats again, I can’t wait to feel that thrill again, and I don’t think you could have articulated it any better, “Welp, time to get to work on the next one.” Keep writing and your new words will pile up inside that void until it’s not there anymore.
Amen to that. On to the next one.
First, ROCK and CONGRATS on following through on your goals. Few do. That alone is triumph. But I also want to commend you for creating such a fantastic product. I was scrolling through Twitter today and saw the cover of your book on Book Soda, or something, the name of the promoting site doesn’t stick out but your cover certainly did. I immediately put your art on my “Covers I Adore” list on Pinterest. And once I get home, you’re going onto my Kindle for a poolside read this summer. It’s a pleasure to have found you. Looking forward to enjoying the inside of the book as much as I enjoy the outside! Oh, and I’m stealing the quote from this page for my “quote of the day” on Twitter — so you’ve inspired me thrice today.
Haha that’s great! I’m inspirational! Thanks for the compliment, and I must say it’s cool to be selling more copies than i have sympathetic friends. Enjoy!