Last Friday, I finished the rough draft of my novel-in-progress, set in Greece. But not without a struggle. I knew how I wanted the story to wrap up, the arrival point to where my characters had been traveling from the first page. But somehow I couldn't seem to write the last few sentences. The thought of doing so threw me into a minor panic. How to find the words that would end the whole story with a satisfying click?
Never mind that this is only a first draft, that whatever I've put on the page so far will be rewritten three, six, ten times before it's done. I couldn't consider that first draft complete until I could get down a final sentence I could believe in. I kept writing and writing, well beyond where I'd planned to end things, just to avoid putting down a last sentence. Better not to end than to end halfheartedly.
Finally, I gave up. I distracted myself with other, tangentially related things--namely searching for the missing photos of my last trip to Greece. I had taken thousands, then misplaced the tiny memory card I'd stored them on. Suddenly it became urgent: I needed to see photos of Greece. And not somebody else's photos. My own.
And then I found a cache of forgotten photos. Not the missing ones on the memory card; those remain tantalizingly lost. But a few random snapshots I had managed to download onto the netbook I use when I travel. This one, for example:
Two sentences later and I could consider my first draft complete.