In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I finally typed the two words that I have spent over a year working toward; The End.
Sitting in a darkened room with a group of people that couldn’t have really cared, it wasn’t the sweetest of victories, but it was a milestone nonetheless.
But achieving a major life goal often leads to some introspection & retrospection. A lot of ‘pection going on.
So what the heck have I learned? What has writing my first draft of my first novel taught me? Well, here it is kids. Hope some of it is useful 😉
Writing Everyday Is Good Advice
Yup, you’ve read the same advice too. And if you’re anything like me, you said “That’s nice for you, but there’s no way I have time for that.” Well, I’m here to tell you, “MAKE TIME.”
In the final length of my race to the finish, I focused on writing something every single day. I set no minimums or goals, I just told myself I would find time to add to The Veil everyday.
Most days I was lucky to squeeze out 100 words. But other days it was 500. In the final two days it was over a 1,000 words. By pushing myself to write even a little everyday I found it easier to find the writer’s mindset and jump into my story. So in my future works, I will write something, anything, every single day.
Being a Pantser Sucks
I know this works for some people. Doing a mix of 1/8 planner & 7/8 pantser did get me to the end of my book. But it was painful. I wasted too much time staring at a blank screen uncertain of where to go. I often hit roadblocks that trapped me in a chapter for over a month. The more often I got stuck, the slower my progress. These factors lent themselves to a deep depression in regards to my writing. Many days I felt like such a hack I wondered what the point of continuing was. I persevered. I finished. But I don’t want to write a book like that again.
I’m thinking future works will be a flip 1/8 pantser, 7/8 planner. I hope to stick to that.
Twitter is a Godsend
There are a ton of people on Twitter that have encouraged me and helped me through my slumps. Add into that a number of those same people, and many more included, that inspired me and made me sit my bum in the chair. Writing is lonely. But with Twitter by your side, it doesn’t have to be.
When you add in a slew of great articles that people have directed me to that I never would’ve found myself, Twitter adds up to a must. Forget all the hype about joining Twitter to build a “platform.” Join Twitter to find a wonderful community. When you embrace it and open yourself up and join the conversation, the platform will evolve naturally.
Writing Software Saved My Life
This book never would’ve happened without Scrivener. It’s that simple.
I know you’ll be surprised by this, but I’m a bit scattered. I’ll be writing chapter three, then have an idea that probably won’t happen until chapter twenty. In the old days, this shiny idea would become a separate Word document that would be shoved in a folder and then probably forgotten.
Writing this way was a pain. To have character bios, notes and an assortment of other things available, I’d have to open five or more documents.
Scrivener just allows me to do this all organically. It puts all the information I want and need right in front of me. It’s easy, organised and gets out of my way while I get all creative and stuff.
I will never write a piece of fiction again without Scrivener.
So What Now?
And then, just to change things up, editing.
And as The Veil takes it’s final form, I will move into plotting The Veil Book 2. I did say it was a series, right?
I also have a character I’m itching to write. It’s a joint creation between my wife and I. She’s going to do visual work and I’m going to write the words. At this point, I’m thinking a series of novellas.
So, whew. Done. I feel lighter having finished it. I’ll feel lighter when I have it edited and it’s ready to be released to the wild.
Thanks for hanging in with my journey. I’ll do my best to post more regular updates.
2 thoughts on “The First Draft is Done – Some Things I’ve Learned”
Congratulations! There’s nothing more thrilling and disappointing at the same time as finishing your novel. Thrilling because you did it. Disappointing because it’s over.
I completely agree in regard to Twitter. Hey, that’s how I found this post. 😉 I love reading craft blogs every day. It keeps me on track. And the writing community is so incredible.
I’m also a huge Scrivener fan. I just switched over to it a month ago (I know, really behind, right?) and like you said, I’ll never go back.
Go editing! Lol!
Congratulations! I should just get Scrivener for all the good I’ve heard about but something stops me, maybe I’m just scared to spend any money on anything for any reason 🙂 And yes, I too love Twitter now. YAY #amwriting.
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