So I’m on the final page of my novel, just a few more lines to write. So why can’t I write them?
Sure, I’ve lived with this story for the last few years and I am sure I will spend the better part of a year revising it. I know it’s not over, but I can’t seem to finish it.
The finality of the first draft has me second guessing everything in the chapter. My brain is already working on the next novel (taking a break from this draft before the next one). Every morning I open up the Word doc, fiddle over some slight correction and then proceed to goof off, watch TV or play a video game, anything but write.
This fatigue coincides with the summer slowdown in the garden. I spent hundreds of hours prepping the garden and getting it up and going only to half-way abandon it now that it doesn’t need constant attention. I know I need to prune my tomato plants, harvest the cucumbers early to make pickles and cut back the blackberry canes before they grow over the roofline (too late). I just don’t have the energy. That’s not true. I just don’t have the motivation.
Writing and gardening are not activities that we do when the mood strikes us. It has to be a regular thing or else our stories dry up and our gardens are overrun with weeds.
When I get fatigued in either project it helps to do something, anything. In writing, this blog gives me the extra push I need to keep on writing. In gardening, I finish something, anything. In this case, I made some blackberry jam. It’s ridiculously easy to do. Now I have finished writing something and I have enough jam for the winter I have a sense of accomplishment that urges me to do a little more.
Quitting is so easy to do, but so is finishing a small thing. Hauling in a big harvest gives that sense of accomplishment that finishing a good story does. And with that comes a different sort of fatigue. It’s that kind of tired that precedes a long and satisfying sigh followed by a 12 hour nap. Can’t we all use that kind of finish fatigue?