In February of 2019 I started the first draft of a novel – lets call it “Project A.” Starting a novel is a thing I had done before – I had even finished a draft of one the year before – but it was no less daunting a task. Despite the excitement of a new project and the accompanying flood of ideas I could shrug off the anxiety. Would it be any good? Would I finish it? If I did, would it be worth revising?
18 months and 86,000 words later, the 1st draft of Project A is done.
A great big novel that no one will EVER read. This draft at least. If there is any piece of advice that most writers can agree on, its that no one should ever see the first draft but the person who wrote it.
Unlike the other novels I’ve written, 1 finished and 2 abandoned, I’m pretty happy with where Project A is. Although, I am already working on a list of things to revise and/or rewrite. This is good. But it’s new territory and I’m trying to pace myself so as not to throw out/change too much too soon. Part of me wonders if maybe I should go back and look at my other novel and attempt a revision there, just to get the feel for the process.
Beyond that, I’m feeling good.
So far, my decision to keep this blog updated and refreshed with “content” has seemed to be a good one. I’ve more or less held to my schedule (despite having not posted at all last week) and I have made some decent progress on a few projects.
So what’s going on?
- I am frustratingly close to the end of my novel’s first draft. The last chapter, it seems, is the most difficult to write. I suppose that’s what happens when you get to the end of your outline and realize that the ending you had in mind is, well, lame. So it goes. I’ve got the thing figured out and am confident that the changes I’m making are to the benefit of the larger work. That said, once I’ve squeezed the conclusion of the first draft out of my brain, I’ll have to begin revising so that it will make sense to anyone but myself. I think it was Stephen King who said that first drafts are never to be read by anyone but the author. If it was, he was right on.
- I’m playing around with writing more nonfiction. Essays, reviews, that sort of thing. It’s not something I generally do a lot of (outside of school, that is) and a blog feels like the right platform for that sort of thing. Just an occasionally examination of whatever is on my mind at the time. It’s fun and, if nothing else, it will keep me in the habit of exercising my writing muscles.
- Lastly, and not really writing related, I’m
trying to quitting smoking. barely 24 hours have elapsed since my last cigarette but I’m already noticing some changes. First of all, I don’t have cigarettes breaks to distract me away from writing. Just last night, instead of sitting on the back porch and chain-smoking until 1am, I wrote a solid 1300 words or so of my novel. It hadn’t occurred to me how much as I’d been leaning on cigarettes as a means of procrastination! Second, I got a decent night’s sleep and woke up before my wife. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but I’ll take it. Third, and most noticeable, I didn’t start the day by hacking a huge blob of phlegm into the bathroom sink. Sure it’s gross, so is smoking though.
In conclusion, I’m writing stuff. Be safe out there kids and be nice.