My First First Draft Is Complete

First Draft CompleteI wrote THE END on my first draft a few hours before THE END of 2014! It was 6:18 PM to be exact and would have been documented with a photo, but my phone was too overwhelmed with the excitement of it all and promptly died as I opened the camera app. Fortunately, I had talked my phone-bearing son into visiting his mother before the year ended at the Coffee Tree Roasters where I was working. One minute later, I had the picture you see here.

Having a dead phone prevented me from sharing the event personally, except with my son, who got to see me try not to cry in public. With so much exhilaration, I needed an audience, so I posted to Facebook where lots of friends and family could celebrate with me. Sorry to those whose New Year’s celebration I ruined  with my much more exciting news.

Finishing a first draft, like finishing a year, is a time to reflect on what has passed.

The Stats

  • Started in November 2009 for NaNoWriMo
  • 50,000+ words written in November 2009 to win NaNoWriMo
  • Used less than 200 words written in that version
  • Only 3 characters in that version remain
  • Overall, more than 230,000 words written, not including notes and character development
  • Final draft is slightly over 150,000 words, more than 50,000 of which will be cut for a first-time book to be published
  • Wrote approximately 100,000 of those 150,000+ words in 2014

More Than Just Writing

You can’t write that much without learning a few things, not only about writing but about time management, procrastination, perseverance, and more. Knowing some of these things before I wrote a novel would have been useful. On the other hand, I may have been too overwhelmed to even attempt it. Ignorance makes for interesting endeavors.

The biggest accomplishment was not abandoning this novel on the second attempt after I’d thrown out all of the first 50k words, nor on the third attempt, after I trashed another 30k words. My plot was a spongy mess. My antagonist was more interesting than my protagonist. My writing went from phenomenal to craptacular to mediocre to sub-par to kinda good, sometimes changing faster than the second hand on a clock. But I couldn’t give up—not only because it meant I would have to get a regular job, but because it would haunt me if I didn’t finish. Who wants the ghost of an unfinished novel plaguing her for eternity?


When done, an unexpected space formed where the novel had once been. No more scenes to write (for now), no more word goals, nothing left to create. It now exists. The initial joy of finishing faded into wondering would I do with the time now vacant and with the drive to finish now revving the engine uselessly. Time to put those resources to work elsewhere.

So much has gone neglected as I entered the final stage of drafting my novel. Writing THE END meant I could read more books, write the short stories I owed, learn more about the writing craft, revive my blog, build my platform, and start planning another novel while the newly completed novel fades. I need distance before I can revise it.

I made no resolutions this year. I only revised my goals once I completed my novel, which just happened to be on the final day of 2014. I intend to take the dedication of writing a novel and apply it to more areas of life as well as start another novel.

Coming up in 2015

  • Complete first revision of Habituation by June
  • Revise Habituation to be ready for query by end of year
  • Update blog every other week on Wednesday (feel free to nag me if I fail, but my plan is to not give reason for nagging)
  • Build my writer platform by spending at least 3 hours a week
  • Write at least 3 short stories
  • Research agents who represent authors in my genre
  • Continue education on craft and query
  • Plan next novel and begin draft
  • Write more interesting blog posts than this one

Do you have goals you’d like to share?

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