THE END Is Just THE BEGINNING


You’ve heard the saying, “No pain, no gain,” right? Yeah, I always kind of wondered what would be worth experiencing pain in order to, well, gain.

When I first started on this journey of writing a novel, I approached it with excitement and a naive confidence of, “Sure, my first draft is FANTASTIC, and who wouldn’t want to snatch it up?” I suppose I wouldn’t have had the bravery to even attempt writing a novel if I hadn’t.

Two years and countless writing hours later, I’m still totally excited about writing. But I’m certainly not naive. The bumps in the road have been PAINFUL. And HARD. And DISCOURAGING. And DISAPPOINTING.

Yes, I’ve experienced all those things. You know what I mean. You spend months working on something, developing the plot, perfecting the characterization, making the words sound pretty. Then you type, THE END, and you’re all set, right?

Nope.

Maybe you’ve heard this before, but typing THE END is really THE BEGINNING.

Think back to when your initial steps on the writing road. Did you ever in your wildest imagination believe that finishing the first draft was like hitting the first mile marker of a 100 mile race?

Tell me, if you had known that you were essentially still in the warm up phase, would you have kept going?

Any logical person would have to wonder about someone purposely choosing such torment, but maybe that’s a post for Mental Health Monday, LOL!

Encouraging, isn’t it? 😉

Well, let me give an analogy. Twelve years ago, I started on a journey to become a psychiatrist. Four years of undergrad, four years of med school, four years of residency. Each time I walked across the stage to get my diploma, I thought, “Wow. I made it!” only to realize, “Oh, crap. I gotta start over!”

Going through it was PAINFUL. And HARD. And DISCOURAGING. And, at times, DISAPPOINTING. (See any parallels? LOL!)

Now that I’m “done,” I can see that it was totally worth it.

The REAL kicker? I’ve also learned that being DONE with the training doesn’t mean I’m done learning. Not by a long shot. That twelve years I talked about? That was the rough draft.

THE END of residency meant THE BEGINNING of real life learning. Holy crap. That means I’ve got my WHOLE LIFE to learn my craft!

You know what that means?

I’ve certainly come a long way, but heck, I’ve certainly got a long way to go. Huh. That kind of changes my perspective. Now it’s more about the process, the every day work.

Are you wondering what happened with this shift in thinking?

Okay, so I admit achieving mastery is still important (I’m referring to mastering the art of psychiatry AND the art of writing), but I’m less concerned with MAKING IT. Why? Well, on some level, by not giving up, by keeping going, by focusing on the learning and the growth, I already have MADE IT.

So tell me, whaddya all think of this perspective? Do you agree? Disagree? Am I deluding myself? *grin*

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11 comments on “THE END Is Just THE BEGINNING

  1. Cheree says:

    Congrats on getting to the end. I agree that you’ve made it (by actually completing the MS) but now it’s just the beginning because now you’ve got to polish it and throw yourself into the wonderful world of agents.

    Good luck with it.

  2. Zoe says:

    LOVE this post, Laura! Way to go — way to stick with it, learn from it, be excited with it, and enjoy it! Do you need a beta? I’d be happy to read. So, are you ready to jump in to your next novel???

    Congrats! I’ve also left you the “Creative Writer” award over on my blog. 🙂

  3. Christine Fonseca says:

    Love this Laura – and yes, the journey is the point!

  4. Danyelle says:

    Beautiful post! And yeah, we wouldn’t be writers if we were logical and/or sane. The end is only the beginning–so very, very true!

  5. Lydia Kang says:

    No delusions. I agree with all the suffering part, but at the same time, I’m doing something I love. I can easily imagine a time way in the future, when I’m 70 or so (if I’m lucky to be healthy enough to live that long) and looking back at this time. I’ll think, “Wow, I had such a good time. Writing , creating, making friends and doing what I loved.”
    So, no regrets. None!

  6. Kat says:

    You are not deluding yourself. I believe perseverance is 90 percent of the battle in many areas of life.

    You’re absolutely right. It’s easy to start something — a diet, a stint on the wagon, a new job, a class, a manuscript. But starting it means nothing if you don’t always strive to take it to the next level.

    Great, wonderful, awesome, splendid post today!

  7. lbdiamond says:

    Thanks, all! I needed your support today. 😉 *hugs* Y’all are FABULOUS!

  8. yep. this is something I recently discovered for myself. It’s the journey and the sticking with it that really matters. The rest will come with time. 🙂

  9. Great post! I need reminders, sometimes, that I really *don’t* want to give up.

  10. Callie says:

    I thought this was a great post–and so true. We’ve been working on our books for the same length of time. And hmmm…to be truthful i wonder if I would have ever started if I had known how hard it would be–how many endless rewrites and revisions I’d have to go through.

    I thought I finished my book a year ago…and even that was the billionth draft. I was so happy when I finally typed the end. i went out to dinner to celebrate and everything.

    Then i decided that, before I actually began querying I should try to get a few chapters critiqued–since I kept reading over and over about the importance of critique groups.

    Looking back, it amazes me that i thought the book was done. I’ve learned SO much since then…In the original I kind of forgot to put any conflict in the first five chapters…lol…that sounds so stupid, but the characters were so interesting in MY head that I somehow missed that completely.

    I agree that it is about the journey as much as making it. I wouldn’t trade the last two years for anything. It’s been hard and painful and frustrating…and amazing and exciting and inspiring. So, yeah, in a way I feel like I have “made it” just by coming this far.

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