80,058 words in ninety days. Did 5K yesterday to finish up by my self-imposed deadline.
First draft complete!
It’s such a great feeling, finishing up that first draft. It’s in horrible shape, sometimes feeling less like a story and more like a Frankenstein monster with loose stitching and patches, barely holding together. When I write a first draft, I just put my head down and bull my way through, trying not to look back. I rarely edit any part of it as I go, wanting instead to just get it out of me and down on the page. I always try to remember as I write that it’s okay if it’s not perfect, that it’s the “down” draft as Anne Lamott put it so well in her great book, Bird by Bird. Get.It.Down.
Now it’s time to fix it up. I’m finding, the more that I write, I’m really beginning to enjoy and appreciate the editing process more and more. I actually now look forward to editing, and have to force myself to let the draft sit for awhile, so it can percolate a bit. You know, get a little yellow in its varnish.
It got me thinking, too, about writing to a schedule. If you’re lucky enough to get a book deal, and you’re writing a series, you’ll be expected to churn out a book a year or thereabouts. Writers write, as I love to tell people. When I started this draft, back on January 27th, I had figured to finish it by May 15th, but once I got about half way, I figured I wanted to shoot for May 1st or so instead (I love a challenge!). That’s why I did the 5K words yesterday. I actually did 10K over the last three days of the draft, wanting to keep that momentum building through the climax. And you know what? It totally worked, the end has a really nice structure to it, a strong sense of story movement.
Now I get to go and recharge the batteries before I begin the editing process. Lots of guitar playing, reading, and gardening. And now I can also focus a bit more on my telecaster project.