Last week, I finished the first book, THE OXHERD BOY! It feels a little weird to put a stake in the ground and say, "This is done," when in reality I have a list of 40-50 edits ranging from minor to significant that I would like to make if given the chance. Not to mention:
The suggested changes that will come from the Penguin Random House team;
Tweaks to make when the next set of proofs come in;
Potential additions to end papers, acknowledgements, biography; and
The all-important cover design.
That being said, if motherhood has taught me anything it is this: that there is no definitive milestone when it comes to growth. Everything is fluid, merging seamlessly into the next that it's difficult to say when what appears to be a definitive milestone has actually occurred.
One can ask, "What was your son's first word?" When I think back, was there a word that he used meaningfully and consistently? Does parroting a word count? Does saying half a word? Does saying it once and then not using it again for another two months mean he didn't actually know it? Or maybe this: "Does he know how to read?" How many words does one have to know to be considered literate? And In what language? What about being able to read words but not grasp their combined meaning, as is often the case in poetry or academic articles?
I remind myself that I'm the same way. When did I finish my first book? I don't know, maybe it won't actually be done until it's printed and out in the world. But for now, I shall lay my pencils aside and say, this is a Moment of Pause to recognize that one step has been taken, and that in taking it, after months of such joyful work, be content that I have arrived.