I’m terrified to finish my novel. I have about a chapter left, and well, have had about a chapter left since May. For whatever reason, I keep putting if off. At first when I realized I was so close, I was ecstatic. I was already picturing the cover art, and how it would bring life to the beige shelves at Barnes & Noble. It would be my masterpiece.
However, the romantic music in my head began to fade, and I shoved my laptop in a drawer. I concerned myself with other matters like work, vacations, sun-bathing, reorganizing my closet, and watching old episodes of Friends all day. I complained about how busy I am, while sitting on the couch at noon in my pajamas. I am avoiding my novel, which I am in love with, as if it will open Pandora’s Box the second I lift the lid of the laptop. Why? I spout off constantly how I want to be this great writer, and that this is the only thing I really, and I mean really know how to do.
If I finish the novel, I’m no longer working on it. I’ve done it, and I have to do something about it. I have to send query letters to agents and get ready to tighten up my muscles for the hard blows. I know I will be backed up against the ropes, feeling them dig into my back, while I let the George Foremans of the literary world have their way with me. They will send letters saying things like,”the project just isn’t right for us,” “keep trying,” and “due to the large amount of queries we receive, we can only select a few manuscripts.” I will act like I’m unaffected by this because even the great writers have gone through it, but really each rejection will make me sick in the deep parts of my stomach I don’t like to address.
However, I have to do it. I have no choice but to step into the ring, knowing full well I will not come out unscathed. I have to ready myself for the beating of my life, but with one thought in the back of my mind…I will win. I will take the punches, weaken my opponents, get off the ropes, and never stop coming at them. I will wipe away the blood with explosive words on stiff pages, and just start throwing punches over and over until I’m so engrossed in the fight that I no longer feel the pain. What else can a writer do? A novel has to fight like hell to make it to a shelf. That’s any novel. It has to be a contender before it can be a champion. There’s a time to contend, and a time to win…now my book and I contend.
I will finish my novel by this time next week. I think I decided that just now. I’m entering the ring, ready to contend with all the meanest, grittiest heavy weights because I have to. It’s in me already. It’s not a fight I even have the ability to choose. I’m a contender by nature. All writers are. I just wake up in the ring, and the bell is resounding. It’s time. Start dancing, Lorna.