I finished the first draft of my first book yesterday. Five chapters have already been edited with another ten in my lovely proofreader/editor’s inbox. I just wanted to share a few observations while I’m still caught up in the moment.
- Writing a book is hard. Harder than I ever imagined, in fact. It’s so very different to the writing I do for my job (web copy, feature articles etc). The writing I do for money requires me to me factual and to the point. The fewer the words the better. With fiction, you need to be descriptive. It took some practice but I finally stopped looking at the word count and just let it all come out.
- I’m in mourning. It sounds stupid but as soon as I wrote the final sentence I felt an overwhelming sadness. The characters that I dreamed up have lived their lives. They’ve had their adventures and they’ve shared what I intended for them to share. They have become a part of me, and perhaps were always there, but I’ll miss interacting with them.
- It helps to have an overactive imagination. I saw every single scene unfold in my head before I wrote it. I’m a prolific daydreamer. I’m even daydreaming while writing this.
- I could never have done this if it wasn’t for 750words.com. Fact. That site helped me immeasurably. I’m on day 309 and I’ve written 308,239 words. I’ve drafted a trilogy, a novella (my next project) and the book I’ve just finished. You want to know how I did it? I just sat down and wrote. There’s no secret, no magic key. If you want to be a writer, you write. Full stop.
- There will always be fear. I have a quote on my desktop that reads, “The writer must be in it. He can’t be to one side of it, ever. He has to be endangered by it. His own attitudes have to be tested in it. The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.” – Arthur Miller. This pretty much summed up my fear of having people actually read what I’ve written. I’m perpetually embarrassed.
- There is nothing in the world I’d rather do. I know that now. I want to spend my life writing books. I love it that much. Of course bills and living expenses dictate that I can’t right now, but I will. One day.
Next step, editing, then the fun will really begin!