On Finishing a Novel

So what is it like to finish a novel?

That’s easy to answer – it’s just like finishing a marathon.

See?  Easy.  Now do you … what?  Wait … are you telling me you haven’t run a marathon?

Well, crap.

Okay, let me try to explain : It is well known among the running community that after finishing a marathon (especially the first one), one experiences a period of depression and maybe even a bit of loss.  You’ll try to work out but it’s done rather haphazardly and without much enthusiasm.  It can take weeks, even months before you jump back into a training plan.

The reason is simple really.  Running a marathon is a tremendous goal.  Weeks and months, maybe even half a year has been spent preparing for the event.  And as Steph said last night, “I spent months training for this and I’m done by noon!”

So that’s a lot like how it feels to finish a novel.  Over a year and a half of writing a story and I finished before dinner.

To combat this post-event (novel or marathon) lethargy, it is recommended to have a plan.  On the running front, that’s usually a few miles a day or sign up for another race.  Anything to keep the body moving and recharge the batteries.

My post-novel plan is to tackle a couple of short stories in need of editing and send them off to markets.  Then it’s the revision process which should take a couple of months.  Before either of those happen, I intend to recharge my batteries with reading, relaxation … and ironically enough, a little bit running.