I finished the book. I turned it in. Those first few days of being done are such a relief. I would walk through the kitchen, thinking, “I’m brilliant. I did it.”
Then, “This is going to be my best book yet. There is not going to be one single person in the WORLD who doesn’t love it…”
Then, “I wonder if I tied up all the loose ends.”
And, “Maybe the killer is too obvious.”
Or, “Maybe the killer is too obscure.”
Twenty minutes later, “I think it might be kind of terrible.”
“What if there isn’t a single person in the WORLD who likes it?!”
“You just need to hear from someone who’s read it. It’s going to be fine.” A few days.
I waited patiently. You know, I paced and cleaned the refrigerator (twice) and took long walks (never too far from the phone, of course) and checked my email every ten or fifteen minutes. Isn’t that what patient people do?
Then, bing! The first reader…
“I love it,” she says.
And all is right with the world again.
Then, “Hmmm. What should I work on next?”
“It’s really time to start a new book.”
Rinse and repeat.