The first draft is done!

I haven’t been writing about writing much here on the Slog because I’ve been too busy writing. This week, I finally finished the first draft of a novel that I started about seven months ago. I’ve been talking about this novel for years, but for whatever reason couldn’t get my act together to write it until now. Why did it take so long for me to finally tackle this project? In my mind, a novel seemed like such a daunting task. I just didn’t think I could do it.

This is so silly, and I’m sure it’s what keeps many people from starting a large project like this. I think, for me, all the journalism over the past eight years has shown me that I can crank it out in order to meet a deadline. So when it came to the novel, I simply gave myself a word count and a deadline. It was like writing a really, really long article that tells a story!

It’s funny, but as I was writing the last 50 pages or so, I was surprised that I felt sad that the story had to end. I actually enjoyed the writing process a lot more than I expected. Writing a novel is very different from writing a short story. Short stories have so many constraints simply because they have to be short. Writing a novel, on the other hand, is like running wild and free.

Now that it’s behind me, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s like graduating from high school or finishing a thesis. It feels like anything is possible. Of course, I have a long road of revisions ahead, but the hardest part is over….

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~ by Valerie Palmer on February 26, 2011.

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