Manuscript “done”

Finishing a manuscript is an exciting time. It’s a huge milestone, right?

You’ve been working on this project for months–maybe years–and finally you get to see the big stack of pages. You heft it and feel the weight. You take it to the dining table and drop it in front of your spouse or your mother and it thumps like someone just dropped a big-city copy of the Yellow Pages (if you still have one of those laying around). Suddenly everyone can see what you’ve been up to all this time, and you’re no longer the crazy guy who lives in a hole. You’ve actually accomplished something! You’re really a writer!

It’s very satisfying.

For about ten minutes.

Because new manuscripts are like new-born babies. Everyone loves to oo and ah over them, but the truth is that they’re stinky little beasts that have a lot of developing to do before they’re ready to go out in public on their own.

You (being the savvy writer that you are) have been doing more than just writing while you’ve been living in your hole. You’ve been learning. You know that giving birth is joyous and well-worth celebrating, but it’s still just the beginning of a long journey. There are lots of milestones still to come. Lots of challenges and rewards.

The picture above is the “completed” manuscript for my current project. It’s going out to beta readers today. I have my own feelings about it, but I look forward to getting the first opinions from others. That feedback will help me decide if this baby is going to boarding school or to a boot camp for troubled youths.