Oh my word, I made it this far. Any seasoned writers reading this will laugh at me, I know. This is a huge milestone, though. My book is now in the ugly, poorly written, filled with useless words, but completely mapped out phase.
I love you ugly manuscript! *hugs tightly*
When I was a tech writer, I always breathed easier after I’d finished the first draft of a several hundred page manual. I knew it was just a question of revising the thing, but the hardest part was over. When you’re on a high-tech deadline, getting a first draft done makes you want to dance for joy.
My next step is to take a little break–which is hard, because I keep reading the manuscript–and start preparing the draft for my beta readers. My goal is to have the book in as a good shape possible without an editor’s help. I want the beta readers to view the story with a critical eye and tell me what works and what doesn’t. I need solid feedback, and I have my Teflon suit at the ready for the onslaught. (In technical writing, you’d toss a manuscript to the reviewers and it often came back looking like it was shot full of blood. Ah, the red pen of smiting.)
Writing a novel is no sprint run, that’s for sure. It requires endurance, patience, something to punch at times, and an obscene amount of dessert. Yet, hitting any milestone along the way gives you that wonderful feeling of accomplishment, and the desire to faceplant into your pillow and sleep for a week.
For now, I just want to bask in the glory of the moment. And maybe eat more dessert. Gotta keep my strength up you know.
Cait Gordon has been a senior technical writer in high tech and government organizations. She is currently a Web Developer consultant for Dynamic Canvas Inc., and assistant to the Executive Director at H’Art of Ottawa. She also enjoys her crafting business, Cait Cards.