A couple of weeks ago, I was writing at a pretty good pace, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in my second draft of my novel. That being said, I set myself a deadline of July 1st to finish the entire draft. Because I am going the route of self publishing, I don’t have anyone on the other end telling me to stay on track, putting pressure on me to meet deadlines, or helping me along in any way. Whether this book ever gets finished or sees the light of day is completely up to me.
Today is July 10th…..I just finished my second draft a few hours ago. Ten days passed the deadline I gave myself. Did I fail? Technically, I failed my deadline. But I did finish my draft, even if it was ten days late, I still managed to meet my end goal. I will still continue to set dates and goals along the way while putting the finishing touches on this book and will do everything I can to see it through till the end.
I quickly learned that the first draft’s sole purpose is to tell yourself the story. I had many sections in my first draft that looked like this:
‘boy walks to the counter, picks up his phone, says hi to girl, leaves the room.’
‘_________ says hello to the girl working at the _____________.’
Knowing if I dwelled on those missing pieces or more detailed descriptions I was clearly missing, I may never have finished my first draft. That draft is for your eyes only and no one else will ever read it. So keep that in mind and get your story onto paper, no matter how many missing pieces it may have. Leaving those blank lines in my story really helped me when I went back to edit the second draft, standing out to me immediately that people needed names, locations needed names or specific places to be.
When I reached a point in my second draft, it was the perfect opportunity to add in new characters, locations, storylines, etc. A few years back, I had written another full first draft, but never picked it up again having very little time to do so. Still having that story roll around in my mind and feeling like it still needed to be finished, I decided to take a leap and pull some of the characters from that book and plug them in to more minor roles in this book. By doing so, I was now able to comfortably sit with book 1 and 2, ready to dig in and finish them.
I feel pretty good about my second draft now that it is finished. My first draft ended at 57,404 words; my second draft ended at 75,999 words. And yes, my ocd was screaming out to me to go into the story to add just one more word but I was able to resist…at least for now. Knowing that I will be going through it a third time to add more details and take out unnecessary words, it is bound to work itself out.
Having just finished the draft today, I plan to step away from it for a week or so and let it rest, returning to it with fresh eyes and hopefully a few more ideas to tie the story together along the way.
While I take a break from the story, I will begin the other things that go along with publishing a book; cover design, business cards, editors, oh my! Stay tuned to how that experience goes for me…