I’m glad to announce that I’ve completed the first draft of my novel. Again, I think this article from writer’s digest helped me immensely. Here’s the link: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/5-simple-steps-to-a-first-draft . Instead of 90 days I completed it within a 4-month period. Each chapter was written in one sitting and most of the time I wrote in the evenings. There are a total of 64 chapters. Since I wrote no more than a chapter a day, it’s easy to see that over a 120 day period I averaged writing at least every other night.
Blogging once a week for four years, probably helped me set up a routine like this. I’m convinced that is the secret of writing long works, the more regular the better. I don’t think I’ve ever written so regularly over an extended period like this. I’m 36 and I have been an aspiring writer since I was a college student, but this is my first time completing a novel. And the great thing is I’m confident I can do more.
If my skateboard dystopian erotic exploitation novel is not marketable I can go back to the drawing board and think of something else. The Writer’s Digest article digest suggestion to plow through it, and allow the first draft to be not your best writing is essential. On at least two previous novel attempts I wrote up about 50 to 100 pages, then decided to type it up and revise it. Soon after very rushed revisions I sent it to friends for their opinion. After a few weeks the fire was gone, and quickly months past then longer with no additional work on those novel attempts. So plowing through it with self-imposed deadlines worked this time round.
Today I typed up the first chapter, and it was not torture. So I think taking the time to handwrite it helped my creative process, and typing it up will be easy enough. But if I did the first draft typing I would be too tempted to revise it before finishing it. With writing, there is something unique, that people can use a lot of different techniques in their process. But what matters is the end product that you submit for publication or self publish. What matters is what you give people to read. Some people do a few revisions, and some do hundreds of revisions. Finding a technique that worked for me is the reason I completed the first draft. Now I’m going to try to revise it as best I can before I show people. I don’t want to simply type it up hastily and email twenty of my closest friends and family before it’s the best I can make it. Several years ago I would do very little for revision. For this work I want to go through at least 5 major drafts, and then read the whole thing out loud to myself before I share it. At this point this is too much a part of me to be sloppy with it, and in the past I’ve sent people sloppy writing.
Lastly, while I wrote out the first draft, I got into drawing chapter headings at the beginning of each chapter. If the chapter heading was in the middle of a page, I gave it two college ruled lines. When the chapter heading was at the top of the page, I could make the art larger. About half way through on chapter 30, I shared the art on instagram and facebook. To my delight I got lots of positive feedback from friends on the social media sites. Several people said they want to read my novel. Sharing these chapter headings turned to a fun way to motivate myself from the positive feedback from my friends. I posted all the chapter headings art on this post, on the thumbnails click on an individual picture to make it larger if any catch your eye!
I don’t know how long the process will take to get my novel ready to share, but I know at some point I will try for publication. I even got my pen name ready!