Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | May 2021 | It’s Part of the Journey
Okay, um… so! I am just going to cut straight to the chase. I have some news.
I FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT. I DID IT GUYS. I ACTUALLY DID IT. I REACHED MY GOAL. THE FIRST DRAFT OF (BOOK 1) OF THE LOWELL SAGA IS FINISHEDDDDDD!!!!!!! (But more on this later!)
It feels so weird to me to have actually finished a draft, because in my whole entire life I have never written a whole book before. I always stopped or had gotten bored with the story way before I reached the end. If my high school self could see me now!
As I mentioned in my last writing update, when I was in high school I didn’t want to be a writer. I loved writing and because I loved it so much I never thought it could actually be my job. School was my job back then and I hated school. Wrongly, I believed, that work had to be difficult and something that you really didn’t want to do. (How naive and misguided!) Thankfully, the universe had other plans.
One of the first signs that put me on the path of being a writer came in my sophomore year during English class. We were studying poetry and our teacher assigned us, simply, to just write a poem. I remember I didn’t think much of it. In fact I was in the mode that I just wanted to get it done so in the class following (Driver’s Ed) I finished the assignment. Just like that, between studying the driving manual and scribbling in my notebook, I wrote my poem.
A week later after we had handed them in and our teacher had graded them, she said something that I still think about today. It was a small thing. But isn’t it those small things that make us wonder what if ? My high school English teacher was notoriously hard to please. She was a difficult grader and held us, her Honors English class, to a high standard. What she said was small, and maybe not that significant, but it meant something to me, and apparently still does because here I am writing about it. I don’t remember the exact phrasing but she said something like this, “Some of you should consider having your work published in our newspaper.”
When my poem was finally handed back to me there in bright red pen was just simply the word “Wow!”
And that’s when it hit me she might have been talking about me.
At that point I hadn’t really considered publishing my work before. I was too shy and too nervous. I didn’t want anyone to see my work. I was afraid. I dismissed the idea of having my poem published immediately after the thought had been born. The me back then in no way would do something like that.
The me who exists right now though is completely different. I still wonder what would have happened if I had submitted my poem to the paper. But then I know it’s an impossible thought. Everything happens for a reason and that moment in time served as a marker to set me on the right path. It was a crucial stepping stone, one that seems so small but actually since I’m writing about it now, means a lot.
Especially now. Especially with this particular writing update post.
(And that poem, believe it or not, was eventually published. Just a few years after the fact 😉 Here’s the link if you want to check it out!)
Honestly, I am still in awe. I finished a draft. I finished a draft. I finished a draft!!! Is it perfect? No way in hot hell. But it is done. It is done. IT IS DONE.
I still have a lot of revision to do. That’s a given. But, from everything I’ve read and from all the authors I’ve listened to, I know getting the first draft done is huge. No matter how terrible it is. Because at least now I have something to build up from. You can’t build up from nothing. And I have something!
I plan on The Lowell Saga being four books. The first draft of book 1 is now complete. At the moment I am currently letting it sleep for a bit and letting my mind focus on other tasks. But then I am going to dive straight in and try to read the whole draft through in a day and see what all the major things I need to fix are.
After that revision begins. Then when I feel comfortable enough there I will be moving onto book 2. Then the same process will ensue through the last two books, until the whole story is finished and then I will make sure the whole series is cohesive and that all the foreshadowing is correctly plotted and all the little nuances make sense all throughout. Then the story really will be done.
It’s a wonderfully scary thought. A very far away thought but one I know I’ll reach.
My writing friends I have a question for you. What do you do once you finish a first draft? Do you have any advice for me? This is new ground.
Till next time,
word count: 79,327
8 thoughts on “Writing is Hard | WIP Update | June 2021 | It Is Done.”
CONGRATS on finishing your first draft! That’s amazing! So proud of you, Jai! Sending you positive writing (and editing) vibes always. ❤ 🙂
OMG VICTORIA THANK YOU!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I'm sending them all the writing vibes your way as well 😀
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CONGRATS! Oh my gosh, finishing a draft is just the best feeling in the world. YOU DID IT! Revision is tough, but the hardest part of all of it is finally getting it all written, and I’m so proud of you and happy for you, Jai Lynn! This is so exciting!
First things first, no matter what else comes next, CELEBRATE! Shower yourself in joy and excitement because this is amazing! Whenever I finish a draft, I usually celebrate by buying a new tarot deck, which is just so much fun because it’s this little milestone of success that I can apply something real and concrete to. Writing-wise, though, I like to take a step back after I finish a first draft. Read all the books for a couple weeks, watch a lot of Netflix, just chill out. You’re still so close to the story that immediately diving back in might be hard because you’ll still have blinders on. It’s always hard for me to see anything substantial because I’m just heart eyes all over the place at it. I like to consume some other media, then, so I have a clear head before I start revisions.
And revisions are crazy and hard, but so much fun, too! If I could give one piece of advice to every writer out there, it would be to find someone else to help you revise. I have two critique partners, and they have been monumental in leveling up my drafts and helping me navigate through to a better version of it. The questions they’ve made me answer have meant that my book makes more sense, has tighter writing, and is beyond what I could have gotten it to on my own.
I can’t wait to hear what comes next for you! Now that you’ve finished one, everything is possible.
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THANK YOU MARY!!!!!!!! It is really the BEST feeling having known I finished a book. Even if it’s messy and needs a hella of a lot of revision., the bare bones are there and now the only way to go is up!!
And you are so right, I need to chill. I need a break to clear my head and step away. So I’m spending time with family, devouring Never Have I Ever on Netflix and reading, like, five books at once. Summer is great and finishing this draft just made it greater 😀
And that’s great advice, thank you Mary. I need fresh eyes to look at it and critique partners are the way to go! That’s a scary part, having someone else look at your work and something I battled FOR YEARS. But its necessary, I know and it’s another step closer to getting my book published (hopefully) one day!!
EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE 😀 100 % For both us. The only way to go is up from here!! Thank you so much for the kind words, you warmed my heart so much ❤ ❤ ❤
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Yes, exactly! Because you can’t revise something that doesn’t exist, so you’ve already accomplished something incredible.
Oh, I’m so glad to hear that! I hope all five books are amazing, truly. It’s such a wonderful feeling being able to just gobble up so much media after you’ve poured so much of yourself out.
It is SO SCARY. One of my friends has been reading my work for years and years now, but not with a super critical eye, mostly just as another thing to read. The first time I actually asked someone to critique my novel, then, was absolutely nerve-wracking. And even now, several novels in, I still get nervous when I had off something new to my critique partner. Their feedback is invaluable to me, but it’s like exposing a piece of your soul when you show someone your writing, and that’s scary! But it is so, so worth it, too. The best thing that ever happened to my novels was having someone else look at them.
I can’t wait until we’re both NYT bestseller’s!! ❤
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