YOU GUYS. I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY NOVEL !!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t even describe to you how incredibly happy I am right now. omfg.
Last time we talked was the end of January and I was coming in at 118k words, and I thought I was around the midpoint of my story. I think I had actually passed that point, and was well into the Second act of my story (I don’t know why I thought I wasn’t??) But anyway I slaved away and the final word count for my first draft is 138,655 (yes I do have that memorized).
As I’ve mentioned before, I have had the idea for this novel since 2008. That’s almost 10 freaking years! I’ve always had these characters in my mind and my heart, and I always wanted to be able to tell their story. I had numerous false-starts to my book (thank goodness – it’s good to practice and all, but I was not a talented a writer in 2008 when I was 13 years old), and always put it off. Thankfully, my fiance (then-boyfriend) really pushed me to start writing around March/April of last year. I spent a lot of time researching and planning, and then I finally took the leap into writing this story in May 2016.
And now, 9 months later, I FINALLY have a finished draft! It wasn’t the quickest writing experience you’ve probably ever heard, but it also probably wasn’t the longest. Personally, I’m just proud that I finished this story before the 1-year mark.
I actually had to switch up my writing platform for the third freaking time because my document is too intense and both Microsoft Word and Google Documents were laggy as hell when I was typing and it was very distracting and incredibly annoying so for that last stretch of writing I actually signed up for the free 30-day trial of Scrivener (this was like, last Thursday). I think I’m going to purchase Scrivener anyway, but I know it’s super complex and I wanted to try it free for 30 days before I spent the money because I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed and confused by its features and then feel like it was a waste of money. BUT I do think that I really like it, so I think I will purchase it!
Honestly, writing the last part of my book was so difficult. It was actually ridiculous.
Especially because I had always known what was going to happen at the end of the book, so it wasn’t as if I had a lack of inspiration or writer’s block or anything like that. I was talking to my fiance about it as I struggled to finish writing the last 4,ooo-ish words on Sunday, and I concluded something like this:
Whenever I commit to something, no matter how enjoyable I find the experience, I am always thinking ahead to the end. I’m always looking forward to it/ anticipating it/ dreading it/ whatever. And so I spend the entirety of that experience (whether it’s a party, writing a book, or take a class for a semester) looking towards the end. And when I finally get to the end, I’ve thought about it so much that even seeing the end in sight makes me feel like I’ve completed it. Imagine running a marathon (HA, as if), and going through the whole thing, and then finally you can see the Finish Line in sight – just seeing the Finish Line to me would be the same as actually crossing it, and I would want to drop out right then and there, when I saw it, instead of pushing through that extra bit and actually finishing it.
Does that make sense? It’s hard to describe. Basically, even though I knew exactly what I wanted to happen in the last bit of my story, I was having the most difficult time writing it because I had reached the point where I had seen the end – and it was near. And I felt like I was done. Like I had already accomplished it, especially because I already knew what was going to happen next.
It’s the most bizarre thing.
But regardless, I pushed through with the help of my classic passion tea lemonade (sweetened!) from Starbucks, and used the extra sugar to get me through writing the story. And I did it.
I think I mentioned this before in some of my writing journals, but I only wrote from one character’s point of view in this draft, when it’s actually supposed to be a multi-character POV story. BUT because I did write the entire plot from start to finish, I am still considering this my first draft. (Plus, 138,655 freaking words, dude).
I’m going to be taking about a month off of writing this story now so that I can give my brain a rest from the story and put a little separation between myself and the text. In that time, my fiancee is going to be reading over the draft (I will literally let no one else read this draft) and will give me feedback at the end to help guide my editing process for Draft 2.
But if you read Part 3 of my Novel Writing series, you would know that I am setting a goal for myself to write towards a book every day. Up to this point, it was easy to write every day because I had a draft I was working on. Now, I’ve finished that draft. I don’t want to start on the sequel because I don’t think that is fair since I don’t actually have a final, finished draft of the first story and I don’t know how much will change from this first draft to the finished product. Plus, I don’t think that would count as giving myself a mental break from the story.
So I think I am going to start on another novel that I have had an idea for a while. As most authors probably do, I keep a list of story ideas that I want to write, because as I’m writing/researching/plotting one story, I find inspiration for another. So I do have something else that I would like to work on in the meantime, and I am so excited to start working on my Second Novel!!
I will have to come up for a clever new title (maybe? probably?) for the next writing series of this book I’m about to start!
Do you write? Do you have any novel ideas that you would like to write? Have you ever published anything? I would love to know your own personal stories and progresses and achievements and failures!! (We can learn from everything!) Please let me know in the comments below!