It’s Monday and another glorious week lies ahead.
So what do you plan to achieve this week?
For me, I am reaching the latter stages of my novel although it will be a little while before the first draft is done; and it is only a first draft so the really critical work then has to begin, even though I do polish a lot as I go.
It was some years ago I actually thought finishing the first draft meant finishing. Although I don’t think I really believed it was done; I think I always knew there was a lot more to it than that. But I do remember subbing work in those ‘too early’ stages and so it wasn’t surprising I was rejected. Although I think that very first novel did get some nice comments but it was clear I had not developed as a writer yet and had a long path ahead.
I was thinking about those first things I produced. Sometimes I look at it to see how far I’ve come. The very first attempt at a novel, my native American Indian one, is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I see I did at least know about viewpoint and didn’t head hop which I thought I might. And I can see I did try to end scenes with teasers, although I hadn’t quite grasped all the concepts. The second novel was a lot better and that’s the one that I was obsessive about and I had critiqued professionally, only to discover I wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I feared. It started me on the journey to where I am now, although I say it took me close to ten years to reach the start line: when my first novel was published. And like I always remind writers, the short story might not have quite had the resurgence people talk about, but it certainly teaches us how to write and so that’s really how I served my apprenticeship in learning how to be a writer. A journey that never ends…
Odd that I am now talking about finishing posts, when really I am just getting started on this career and actually it’s really just another start line. But we must celebrate the stages and getting a first draft down is always an achievement.
If you’re new to writing and you get that first draft down, well done. But is it ready to sub? This is when I urge you to get a critique and look at it closely and analytically. If you can’t see the issues in your own work, then have someone else look at. I do. I think it’s essential. This is why I miss our novel critique group I used to be a part of and hope to establish something similar here with more advanced writers.
It’s knowing where to start with the second big edit… you have to be able to stand back from your work to see it clearly.
So, all I can say is if you really want to write, you have to be serious about editing and reworking, which might seem obvious but it’s amazing how many don’t think about that as the process. Not you of course, I have intelligent educated followers! But it is worth standing back once in a while and looking at how far you’ve come.
It’s an exciting journey paved with highs and lows, but if you want it, you’ll do it. As long as it takes… be in it for the joy of writing. Never money. Never fame. There are far easier ways to seek that. Do it because you cannot NOT do it. Writing is a passion. And while publication is certainly a goal, do it for love.