First of all a glass of wine and a shout out: Yippee! Hooray!
This weekend I finished the first draft of my book. At this point all the chapters have been written — some several times and some just once. The pictures have been chosen and inserted into the text. I even have a table of contents.
So, now what? My plan is to NOT look at my pages. I will ask a few trusted friends to read what I have (any volunteers?). They need to be people not too close to the story. People who didn’t know my grandparents and haven’t heard my mom speak. I need friends who aren’t afraid to criticize. I need their eyes and their insight.
Does the story hang together? Have I skipped anything important? Did I repeat myself? Did I repeat myself? What do my readers think of the characters I developed? Does the plot make sense? How does it flow? Is there any suspense? I have a zillion questions and when I look at the text I simply cannot answer them. I have been inside these pages for too long and I realize that I have no clarity or perspective.
I happened to finish the draft at the same time that summer vacation is starting and the house is filling up with teenagers. Three are just coming home from being away at school and one is finishing up finals. My children are teenagers and they are pulling away. They are ready to be free. They don’t want me interfering, looking over their shoulders, or adding my two cents to their plans.
This will be a summer of separation, of independence, and of growth. There will be driving lessons and summer camp and first jobs and concerts and borrowing the car and late nights. There will be mischief and close calls. There will be both good and not so good decisions. There will be calls for help and there will be things that get worked out without my knowledge or input. I will have to stand back and trust that the foundation is firm. I will have to let my children grow and hope that the early love and lessons I gave them will gel and that they will act wisely.
It’s hard to put your baby down and just let it be after holding it for so long.