Surely typing T H E E N D has to be one of the best things about writing? Anyone who's ever got to the end of a story, published or not, must know what I mean. The relief. The self-satisfaction. The I've-got-no-idea-how-I-managed-to-do-that-but-thank-God. Talk about phew.
On Wednesday afternoon I uttered an even bigger phew than usual. This was the story I started so confidently back in May, when I was gaily looking forward to getting back into my comfort zone. It turned out to be a zone so uncomfortable that I really thought I had hit the wall and would be unable to write any more of anything. There were times when I believed that I would never get to the end, but somehow the last couple of chapters bustled up and I was typing THE END a full day before I'd calculated. I think the shoes worked!
Anyway, it's done. I know, I know, I should have put it aside and left it a couple of days so that I could reread it with a fresh eye, but the deadline's too close, and I had too many other things I wanted to do. So I whizzed through it (surprised, as always, that it was better than I'd thought), rejigged a few things, and emailed it off. Then I had to email all the friends who'd put up with me whining and moaning about how I couldn't do it and promised drinks all round in compensation, but finally felt I was entitled to reward myself with a G&T.
There may be some more "tweaking" (editor-speak for major rewriting) next week, of course, but I can't do anything about that yet, so am demob happy. Today I've been having a day away from my computer. I mean, I've been home for all of, oooh, three weeks, so clearly I needed the break. I'm off to walk the West Highland Way next weekend, so drove up to Helmsley (a pretty town on the edge of the North Yorkshire moors) and invested in a rinky-dinky rainproof jacket which was incredibly expensive but which will either keep me dry or ensure that the sun shines all week: I'm thinking of it as a win-win situation and worth every penny.