1. You did it. You didn’t think you could when you looked at the blank screen and thought about all the action you had to get through, all the characters you had to kill, and all the mysteries you had to spill. But now, months – sometimes years later – you’ve completed a novel, and the size is such that it alone impresses any onlookers. They don’t even have to read it to know that you are an author (a.k.a: windbag).
2. A change of scenery. Instead of writing madly, you get to look back on all you’ve done, and start tearing it apart for editing. Editing is actually quite nice in one sense. While writing the book, you’ve become aware of particular faults that you can’t stop to fix, otherwise you run out of gas. Now that you’ve finished, you get to start making everything perfect.
3. You get to bomb family and friends. If this is your thirteenth, some of them are a bit sick of this procedure by now. But there are always a few loyals, and it’s fantastic to see them reading avidly (or at least putting on a good act).
4. Your writing style has improved. No matter how many novels you have written, with each subsequent one, your writing style improves, whether you aim for this or not. The sentences become less clunky; the characters are more vivid; the action scenes and death scenes more convincing and emotive; and there are some mistakes you will never make again.
5. The big picture. You get to look back and actually see what you’ve written. While writing it, you’ve come to regard it merely as a ‘big something’. Now that it’s out, you will impose structure on it and appreciate the structure you already managed to give it. You get to understand the journey you have just taken.
6. You get to move on. Sometimes while writing a novel, you become heartily sick of following a set of characters through the mountains, or dealing with pirates. After finishing, you can start something entirely new, or you can even move onto a new stage: submissions. Having something to tempt – or to try to tempt – a literary agent with is exciting.
7. The possibility of a sequel. Do you like it? Can’t bear to part with old characters? You now have the chance to enlarge the story and add even more drama. Often sequels are simply bigger and better.
8. Character. And I’m not really talking about your characters’ personalities. Completing a novel takes some dedication, and in no small way, it will change you. You will develop a healthy diligence, and you'll become tough.
9. Respect. The people who once thought you were insane either now believe it, or have gained some kind of reverence for you, even if they won’t touch your work.
10. You’ve done bigger. Even though it’s a completely different kettle of fish, you will never look at a four thousand word essay with the same fear as you once did. Those who complain about writing a poem, a ten minute speech, or 2000 words of research seem laughable. You are set up well for your next big achievement.