A couple of weeks ago I finished my first draft. When I started writing in January I imagined that at this point I would feel relieved, excited, a sense of accomplishment, etc. I really don’t. Instead, I feel more overwhelmed at this moment than I have during the entire process! During the past few months friends often asked “how are you going to write this thing?” and I responded, “I just will!” And then I happily typed away, making sure the stories of Francesca and John moved forward. Something has changed.
I’m not completely sure why the idea of editing is stressing me out so much, but it is. Historically, I have enjoyed editing even more than writing. The only time I hated it was during the final weeks of writing my senior thesis—after each of a million drafts my adviser always had the same amount of comments!! It was crazy! Maybe that experience has subconsciously created a negative association with editing large projects?? Or maybe I feel different now because the stakes are higher–at this point one of two things can happen: 1) my novel never gets published because I didn’t spend enough time editing or 2) my novel does get published and everyone hates it because I didn’t spend enough time editing.
Of course, I started browsing some writing blogs for comfort regarding the editing process. Usually they have good advice and/or let you know the situation is not as bad as you think. Let me tell you, reading those blogs and comments was an f-ing nightmare! All of my worst fears were validated!!! One author, who has published several books, detailed her process and it involved five “big edits”—that is, edit, have people read it, edit again, more people read it, edit again, people read it again—you get the point. Seeing that most readers probably need a month or two to get through an entire novel that is an incredibly long process. Another writer said that she budgets 1 YEAR-15 MONTHS for editing!! Wtf! That is a LOT of editing. It’s possible I’m being naiive, but that sounds crazy—and I think this was all before she even looked for a publisher! My hope is that because I planned so much of the story on the front end with my trusty snowflake method, I will be in a better situation than some of those people, but we shall see.
Anyway, I have told many people in real life this, but for those who haven’t seen me recently (or ever) this is my plan going forward:
- Edit the entire manuscript on my computer and address any comments/notes I made to myself
- Print the manuscript, read it again, and then make any necessary edits
- Share with friends (readers and writers)
- Shift ego aside and edit again
- Consider sending to professional editing services—they are expensive, but possibly worth it. An alternative step would be to attend a writing conference to get feedback from agents and publishers on the spot (also costs money)
- Edit again
- Try to find an agent
On a happier note—I made it to the third round of The Write Practice blogging competition! I’m not sure what that means yet, but thank you so much to everyone who responded to my prompt last time. I will keep you posted on that!!
Things are happening! This weekend, I finished my first draft!! It’s a great feeling, but I still have a long way to go until I’m finished.
Also, I made it past the first round of a competition to become a regular blogger on The Write Practice, which reaches 35,000 readers a month!! (By contrast Illegal Writing gets about 700-800/month.) To convey the meaning of this let me explain: The Write Practice = Platform = Agent = Publisher = Novel on bookshelves!
In honor of the weekend’s news, I’m dedicating this post to The Write Practice, which is all about getting people to take action to improve their lives. The end of each blog post includes a 15-minute writing prompt designed to get everyone’s creative juices flowing. So today, I’m going to create my own prompt. Many of you aren’t writers, so it’s just a little something to try make you happier. If you do it, be sure to tell me how it goes!!
PROMPT TO MAKE YOUR DAY BETTER
Ok so to be a successful writer (I imagine), you have to keep your mood in check. This is because people can feel your mood in your writing. If you’re excited, that energy is conveyed on the page. Likewise, if writing is a burden for you during a particular moment, readers can feel that too. What do I do to make my mind right? I use music to get me to the place I want to be. For example, for some reason Lucy Pearl’s “I Wanna Dance Tonight” puts me a GREAT mood. Toni Braxton is good for those depressing love scenes. I’m not the only one! “Fifty Shades of Grey” author EL James famously relied on the Black Eyed Peas’ “Sexy” while writing her novel.
Do you think this will work for you? Let’s see! Listen to a song that you think will change your mood. What did you choose? Did it work? Tell me!!
Yo yo yo. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the question. But first, I would like to let you know that things are progressing well with this novel thang. My goal has been to write 1,000 words a day, and I’ve been doing that (I’m at about 8,000 right now). If I keep this up, I could possibly have a first draft in 3 months! And that means I could change my goal to actually having something read-worthy by the end of the year (instead of just a first draft). Part of the reason I’ve been able to be so productive is because my lawyer life has been a little slow, but whatevs. The point is that I’m getting serious, people. I even took the advice of one my writer friends and set up an interview with someone who works in the field of my lady protagonist—I need this to sound authentic! I also signed up for novel class that begins next week. It feels great!
So, you ask, what can I tell you about this novel of mine? Well, for one, it’s a romance. Meaning, I would love to make you cry. It has also has two points of view—the girl and the guy. 🙂 Basically, what I’m trying to do with my story is raise the following question: if two people love each other but have very little to nothing in common, are they doomed? Or does their relationship simply require an extra dose of work and commitment? In the case of my couple, the answer is __________. Sorry peeps, you’ll have to read it to find out! 🙂
In honor of all of this romantic talk, I would like to link to a blog post I stumbled upon that The Write Practice published on Valentine’s Day. It asks and answers “Why People Love Stories About First Love?” What do you think the answer is?
Til next time, adios!