The Miracle of Completing a Book

Last week I finished writing the first draft of another book. I’ve lost count of where this book stands in the long line of books I’ve written over the years. But it’s the fifth contracted book (with Bethany House Publishers). And it’s slotted to release the fall of 2013.

During the last few days of writing the book, I knew I was getting close to the end. Of course, I never know exactly where I’ll land, but most of my books are around 100,000 words. So I knew this one would likely end up there too (give or take a few thousand).

The closer I got to the end, the faster the words flowed so that I wrote close to 6,000 words the last two days (which for a slow writer for me is an enormous accomplishment!).

The final afternoon of typing, I tried to squeeze in writing time whenever I could. I typed during my son's guitar lesson. Then I pounded the keyboard later during my youngest children’s piano lessons. I even wrote while trying to help my oldest cook dinner, with a plethora of questions, a cacophony of noise, and the other children running all around me, coming in and out of the house, needing help, and wanting my attention.

When I punched out the last few sentences and realized I was done, tears of relief and joy welled in my eyes. For a long moment, I was overcome with the awe of completing another book. It had taken me three and a half months, approximately 14 weeks of writing with an average of 7000 words per week.
Amidst the chaos of my life, I knew it was truly a miracle to complete the book.

In fact, I believe any writer who finishes writing a book has truly accomplished a feat of miraculous proportions.

There are countless people who say they’d like to write a book. Everywhere we turn, friends and family tell us they have a book inside them.

It’s easy to talk about the grand ideas and stories simmering in our heads. But it takes a little more effort to actually sit down and start working on a book. And of all the people who talk about wanting to write a book, only a fraction of them ever make it to the computer to open up a page and start typing.

Of that fraction, an even smaller number will have the determination and dedication to plow forward when the going gets tough. Anyone who’s ever started a book knows just how difficult it gets once we immerse ourselves in a story. There are hundreds of small details to remember and include, plot threads to weave together seamlessly, characters to shape, facts to accurately research—not to mention the need to build readable sentences, paragraphs, dialog, and scenes.

Add in the busyness of life. I know I’m not the only one struggling to write while multi-tasking and managing a hundred other responsibilities. Most of us are exceptionally busy and trying to squeeze writing into the little free time we have.

With those kind of daunting obstacles facing writers, it’s a wonder anyone at all can finish a book.
The reality is, only a small percentage of those who start a book will actually finish one. And only a smaller minority will write more than one book.

So, take heart. If you’ve finished a book, count it as the miracle it is. Revel in it. Enjoy the accomplishment. Have a party. Be proud of yourself. Shed tears of joy.

You’ve accomplished what many only dream of doing. You’ve managed to put into words a story from beginning to end. You’ve given birth to your imagination. You’ve done the hard work and beaten the odds stacked against you.

Your book is a miracle.

Savor it.

Then once you’re done relishing that beautiful miracle, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and prepare yourself for the hard work of making another miracle happen—the process of taking your story and turning it into something everyone will enjoy reading. Editing takes a miracle too—along with a lot of time, hard work, and outside help (but that’s the makings of another post on another day!).

So what about you? How many books have you written? How do you feel when you finish your books?

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