I was meant to write a post with a similar title just after the new year. But alas, life has already gotten in the way. The post I'd planned to pen had to do with hope and belief and the word better.
You see, for the past two years, I've chosen a word instead of a list of resolutions. The new year hasn't been about changing myself, but rather, my outlook. And this year, I chose the word better because it has such a prominent place within BOOK ONE of my Dreamer Duology.
That post was delayed because I finally finished the novel! And I wasn't sure I would return to this word or this post until the moment I opened my journal to a bee sketch from two weeks ago.
I am writing this now from the same chair at the same Starbucks where I completed this novel exactly two weeks ago. Two and half years after I began this strange story for graduate school, I completed the chapters, and wrote the words: END OF BOOK ONE, which have been four of my favorite words written the past month.
So I finished my novel.
You might be wondering what happens next, or maybe you are some future version of me returning to this post to remember what it felt like to have this story as only your own (hi, future Kayla).
For the past two weeks I've been editing, which has meant red pens and reading whenever I can find the time. These edits were done long hand on a printed version of the manuscript. Now I am putting the edits back into the document. It's a rather arduous task, but one that is necessary to my process.
When this is complete (and I can read this story throughout without an eye twitch from stupid mistakes and plot holes and syntax and character arcs and motivations and everything that culminates in the magic of storytelling) I will send this off and away to New York City so that the best friend can read this whole thing through. And I'll share with a few others who I trust with this story.
While they read, I might finally tackle that TBR pile that has grown too precarious in the past two and a half years since I started this story. But I will also be researching agents that are looking for a story like mine. I will write the much dreaded query letter. And then I will take the next step. I will send the novel out into the world, and see where my words take me.
But for now, the scent of fresh ground coffee smells like possibility and endings, because when I took that deep breath after finishing this book, coffee was all I could smell.
And now, maybe, you're left wondering about that bee sketch. I can tell you honey bees play a prominent part in my novel, as do many other things. I can tell you I wrote the last chapter of this novel to Amber Run's new single, Fickle Game, and that the middle was produced with the Strumbellas in my ears and wine in my veins. I can tell you I cried writing a chapter and cried when I wrote the last chapter. But I don't want to tell you too much about this novel, because I am hoping you will get to read it someday.
While the following quote is spoken by my wonderfully broken protagonist, it was written by me, and I suppose there must be some truth in such a sentiment:
"I’ve always been wonderful at writing endings, but have never been good at goodbyes."
Though the ending to this book was much more difficult to write than any other I've written before, it is true that I've never been good at goodbyes. I can't imagine what it will be like when BOOK TWO in this duology is written and comes to a close, when I have to leave my world of dreamers behind in exchange for new characters and new worlds and new words. But for now, the journey persists, and the writing persists.
And through the possibility of perseverance I will be better.
I hope you will, too.