I got varying advice from people. Some saying to come back to it later or in second draft. Some saying it always feels like you could add more. These were good encouragements, and it’s great to relate to other writers. But I’m used to that “right” feeling. Not “perfect”, because there’s no way to achieve that, especially in a first draft. (Though I’m basically doing first and second draft on chapters right now.) A “this is as good as it needs to be right now” feeling. I bring in finished chapters to my weekly therapy sessions, and Jill is the first person I show anything to. And it didn’t even feel ready for that.
And that’s how I knew I wasn’t ready to leave it alone yet. That and the anxiety buzzing around my head for leaving it unfinished. But I did think I needed to come back fresh. This was a key part of every conversation I’d had. I didn’t know how long that would take. But it turned out to be only about 17 hours.
Friday afternoon, I dove back in. Separated out the parts that felt like they moved too fast from one thought to another. Read it from the beginning and filled in the spaces when it felt appropriate and put other parts back together the way they were when it worked. The writing flowed well. And this time, when I got to the end, it felt “right”.
I’ve struggled the last couple of years with trusting my intuition. With trusting in my stories. Self-doubt has made me second guess myself so often. How will readers see this? Are these feelings really mine or just the anxiety’s? And I had to confront that here. At first, I couldn’t tell if it was my own heartbreak over the ending getting in the way or my intuition telling me something. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. This time, I think both parts were speaking to me. Yes, I was heartbroken over finishing the second to last chapter. But something also felt off. I separated the two voices, and followed my intuition. And after the fixes, I felt really good about moving onto the final chapter.
Or... I did for about twenty minutes. Nothing totally eclipsed that “right” feeling. I still knew I’d done well with Chapter 25. But the anxiety caught back up to me. I felt like a stone dropped into my stomach. One more chapter. How can that be possible?
Battling self-doubt and anxiety is a never-ending battle. But I hope you’re able to identify the quiet voice of your intuition in all the noise. I believe in you!