I’ll admit it feels strange to be writing this particular blog post at the BEGINNING of NaNoWriMo instead of at the end like normal, but well, I was rebelling on November 1st and had something utterly extraordinary happen.
The WIP I was working on prior to NaNo and for the first day… is now finished. Or at least the first draft is.
Just a few hours ago, I knocked out about 2600 words (a thousand more than the minimum for the day and according to my tracker the most words I’ve written in a single day all year which especially with the words I’m adding for this blog post has me going whoo hoo!) and wrote “The End.”
I am… not sure how I feel right now. I ended up briefly tearing up as I wrote those two tiny nearly insignificant words – only six letters total, but holding volumes of meaning.
They encompass self-doubt and wondering if I would ever manage to complete another novel considering I have only managed a single finished novella since I was a Pitch Wars mentee back in oh… 2015. They carry the fear that I was done with whatever chance of a writing career I’d had as I finally shelved TRACES (the Pitch Wars book in question) after so many “nearly but not quite” full manuscript rejections and after my first novel was also tucked away after the small press that offered a publication deal suddenly vanished before I could even get a signed contract. They hold hours and hours of fighting to get even a few hundred words, less even than this blog post will end up being, and wondering if pulling teeth is worth the stress and pain and hassle of even bothering to sit down and write if I wasn’t going to make any progress.
“The End” though above all else means “I did it.”
After four years and half a dozen other started WIPs that petered out after 20-30k worth of words, I have a completed first draft of a novel. It’s real – it has a beginning, middle, and an end, and soon – not immediately as I have some sections I want to fiddle with to get it from a zero draft to a readable first draft, but soon – I will be sending it out to friends and beta readers to get their feedback on whether or not it is a successful book or whether I’ll need to start over.
That second option is, I’ll admit, intimidating as hell, but at the same time, now I’m reminded that it’s possible. If I have to write an entire new novel’s worth of words – well, I just did it, didn’t I? It will take time, and likely just as much doubt and stress and wondering if I can even do this, but I CAN do it.
I know I can.
I know too that a zero draft is just the beginning of my work on this book, but that’s OK too. As some famous author (I’ve seen it attributed to both Jodi Picoult and Nora Roberts just at a glance on google) once said: “You can’t edit a blank page.” Maybe the words I’ve gotten down so far are a mess, but they’re there on the paper, and that gives me a place to step off from. Revisions are tough, but damned if getting this draft out was probably far tougher in the long run. It was four years’ worth of “tougher.”
But again, I did. This makes the third full length novel I’ve managed to write a complete draft of, and while the other two didn’t end up published, I did get through drafting and revising and querying both of them. If I could do it twice, I know I can do it again.
(And again and again and again for as long as I am alive to write.)