Take a long, deep breath... and...
Yay, it's done! Uhhh, waitasecond, well maybe it's more like, sorta done. I'm sure I'm not the only writer who looks at their hard won pages and all they see are flailing, disconnected plot threads, paper thin characters and dialogue that sounds like a gang of two-year-olds talking about the contents of their diapers.
Long cleansing breath... Breathe... It's a ROUGH draft... Rough draft... breathe...
And people wonder why creatives drink. The rough draft of "Black Gallant" is indeed complete and I'm torn between celebration and terror. There's a part of me that says "Wow, does that suck!" That's the perfectionist down in there that if it had it's way, I'd get nothing done.
It's time to take a break from Black Gallant and work on something else. But there is a strange sense of loss that goes with putting something aside that I've put so much heart and soul into. Rationally, I know I need the break from it so that I can come back fresh. I can feel the burnout on this particular story, but the feeling of loss is still there.
Writing is weird. You develop a relationship with your characters. When you're not writing them, it feels like you've stopped talking to friends you've spent vast spans of time thinking about, worrying about, and torturing. I have relationships with the people in my head so that hopefully readers will build relationships with them too.
Then you get back to something else and visit with old friends, now with entirely new thoughts on how to torture them, or begin something new and make all new friends. This is part and parcel of what I feel like Hemingway was talking about in his quote, "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
I get invested in the emotions of what I write. I'm sure I'm not the only one. And with that emotional attachment comes ups and downs. If I'm really putting my characters through the wringer, then I'm in some way right there with them. I have to apologize to my wife for that on occasion.
All of that said, the feeling of accomplishment at having completed a second novel is amazing! It proves that all of the work that has gone into it was worth it. It reinforces the idea that I CAN do it, the first time wasn't a fluke. That reinforcement is critical, it's part of what keeps the creative pump churning.