They say a book is never finished, only abandoned.
I don’t think there is ever a point where I would be like, “Click, Save, Boom, Done. Nothing else. This is perfection.”
It looks more like this: I click save, and I send to my brilliant editor in an email with the subject, “Here it is!” Then I look at it again and I make some changes great and small, so that first email is shortly followed by another one that says, “Sorry – actually HERE it is.” And then another one that says. “Just kidding. Please read this one.” And then another that says, “For real. No more changes. Until you say so.”
Eventually I have to peel myself away from the process and concede to the fact that I’ll only find more revisions and personal changes I’d like to make when I’m finally reading the final copy.
In this last stretch of a book manuscript, sometimes I feel like a preschooler negotiating what’s left of her dinner.
Sometimes I am voracious at the task at hand, chewing and swallowing as fast as I can since I know the time is coming when they take the plate away from me.
Other times, I think I’m finished, and then they say, “No, just a few more bites.”
“Just keep eating, please.”
And so I swirl my spoon around the plate, trying to look busy and engaged, when really I am just buying time until they will either be pleased or exasperated, and in one tone or another I expect they will say, “Give it here. You’re finished.”
Sometimes, I’m just playing with my food. Sometimes I really have no idea what else I can possibly do with the carrots and peas.