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Friday 16 October 2015 at 1pm – on the dot – I finished the first draft of my novel and took a step closer to completing another point on my Bucket List; “Write a book – A story that I would want to read.”

Yes, I am one of those. I aspire to be a novelist.

But it’s not always something that I’ve fully believed I have the capability of achieving. Every story I have started I have given up with, abandoned, lost interest in, stopped writing for one reason or another – or been too late with telling it. No word of a lie, I put off writing a story I had had in my mind for years and when I did come to write it, I got about half way through when I was introduced to a new hit TV show ‘Heroes’. My story was being played out right before my eyes. I was devastated and of course dropped it instantly.

Ever since then I haven’t been able to finish a story to end-of-first-draft stage. Well. There was one. I used to write on my way to and from work on the train and did manage (hand) write a complete story. However, when I came to type it out – I realised just how shit it was and dropped it instantly. Let’s speak no more of it.

So when a story came to mind that I felt passionate about (and if I ever wanted to complete my bucket list point) I knew I had to get on and plan the shit out of this thing if I was going to take it anywhere.

I planned it all out, started writing it and then one day I realised that I hadn’t written any more of it for a good few months. It just went clear out of my head. But I couldn’t get the momentum I needed to carry on with it again either.

Until…

A couple of months ago I had an Employee Development Day at work which included a talk from a motivational speaker. I didn’t catch the guys name but it was a pretty good talk, engaging, and I did take something away from it – always have a goal. Goals give us structure and bring purpose to our lives:

  • Pick your goals
  • Make them specific
  • Set a date for completion

I was sold by this idea – and that night I went home and came up with three separate plans. One for me, one for Dan and one for us – joint goals. Don’t worry, Dan was involved with his own and Our goal making; whether he wanted to be or not (he didn’t really give a shit but pretended to and humoured me…two of his goals included making more PS4 time and getting better at playing football again. I couldn’t complain, he was coming up with his own goals after all).

Anyway, one of mine was by the 31st December I wanted to really make a go of getting my story down and out of my head and have the first draft of my novel finished.

Motivation re-found and target set, I began to set aside half hour or so to write… when I could. But half an hour once in a while isn’t really enough of a commitment to focus the mind and let the story develop as it should. So for a while there was little and slow progress.

Well, through various circumstances (changing moving dates and starts dates – it’s all kicking off!) I’ve been lucky enough to get a couple of weeks off and have used that time to concentrate on my story. And amazingly, have managed to finish the first draft of it – way ahead of time. Yay me!

Now, I’m not deluded enough to think that that is my novel done. I’ll check for spelling mistakes and that’ll be it. Oh no. This baby is going to need some serious editing. It’s a first draft after all, and we all know that that automatically means it’s terrible and nowhere near what the end product will look like.

It’s rough but at least the outline of the story is there for me to develop and start the second draft. I just hope that without time off that I can dedicate to it, I can keep the momentum going and make sure I find the time to carry on writing. Wish me luck!

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” -Anton Chekhov

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25 thoughts on “The first draft of my novel

  1. Congratulations! I got through this stage, then the “yay! I edited it well enough to send to beta readers” stage… then just sat there…. I’ve started branching out and working on other things while I wait to hear back- which I think is good in the long run, even if it makes me feel stalled at the moment. But, like you, I actually found the discipline to finish it from the better habits I picked up at the office. Who said time management couldn’t be sexy?

    • Oh wow! Congrats to you! Sending it out into the world takes some real balls. Good idea to get going on other projects, writing well is definitely a skill to be kept up with – plenty of practice. To be honest after getting my story to a stage where I’m happy with it – I have no idea where to go with it after that, but that’s a worry for further down the line – if I make it that far with this thing. Oh yes, I’m a complete dallier without time management!

      • I love to finish things, and at my job, I realized I could never just work on one task until it was completed before, nice and neatly, moving on to the new task. So I had to learn to live with keeping multiple projects going and never quite finishing any of them without going mad….

  2. Oh hey! Congratulations on completing your first draft, that is pretty awesome! I am so happy for you! I can completely relate to how many times I have wished I were a writer only to have found myself never writing anything because of reasons like, “I don’t know what the book is going to be about.” or “I am too lazy to put it down on paper.” or “I don’t have a plot beyond the 3rd chapter!” I totally admire you for setting a goal to get this done and doing it! I am very inspired by your drive and hope to read more posts of the writing process and how you went about it! Congrats again! And hope your second draft turns out the way you want it to be! 😀

    • Thank you very much! I completely feel your pain, wanting to be a writer but not feeling good enough or clever enough to be able to compete when the time comes; when the first step is to just get the story out and see where it goes from there. It’s so cheesy to say that when you start writing you don’t always know where the characters or story is going to go – but it’s totally true most of the time. I’ve even found with my first draft – I had my plan of where it was going to go, then when I came to write – my characters didn’t want to go to certain places. Starting my second write-through today, I’ve already made changes that I know will really affect the story going forward – it’s a living, breathing entity.

      That’s a great idea to write about my writing process, thank you! I’ll post about it in the future as I go. Thank you for reading!

      • Yes, it’s true. Sometimes the words just came naturally while sometimes they have to be forced out of the very depths of our being. Either way, they need to come out! Good luck to you for the second draft! I look forward to reading more of your blog! 🙂

  3. That is so exciting! Congratulations on finishing the first draft! I have also always wanted to write a book, and similarly to you have started and given up on countless ideas through the years. I really like that idea of setting a date for completion of a goal. I think I’ll try that!

    I actually just wrote a blog about the internet trend #goals, where people are setting the wrong kind of goals (in my opinion). Check it out if you like! 🙂

    shellyray.wordpress.com

    • Thanks Shelly! Sticking with a story idea is so hard, isn’t it! A realistic goal, an action plan (or battle plan, as I prefer) and a ‘to be achieved by’ date, will definitely help with getting that goal underway or completing it – or even realising that maybe it isn’t a goal you really cared that much about (not the writing a story thing, just ‘a goal’ in general).

      Read your blog too, I really liked it. I hadn’t realised there was a #goal trend (learn something new every day), totally agree if people are setting themselves unrealistic goals based around the green-eyed monster – they’re setting themselves up for a fall. Wise words. x

      • That is very true. Thanks for the good advice! And thanks so much for reading my blog. I’m glad you liked it and that I was able to teach you something new! 🙂

    • Thanks! Good luck to you! I’d say make sure your story is planned out before you start nanowrimo. It’s easier to help get your characters along their path if you know where they roughly need to be going. Write as often as you can and for as long as you can so you can really get involved with your characters’ world. I hope it goes well for you! And thanks for reading.

  4. Congrats ! .. Hope you go all the way.. !!
    This post has really inspired me..
    I’ve always enjoyed writing.. but till now I have failed to come up with something good..
    Ideas come and go, but nothing good enough to make me want to pick up the pen.,,
    And now I think I know what I want to write- “A story that I would want to read.” .
    Thank u so much and good luck to you..!!

    • Thank you! Definitely getting through the second draft a lot slower – so busy at the moment with my new job, holiday and moving house this week – I’m not even finding time to blog. Hopefully once I’m in and settled in the new house I can find my flow again. So glad I could help, writing for yourself is something I believe should be the foremost reason to write (unless it’s a job obviously). I wish you luck and keep going – you’ll get there! x

  5. Firstly let me say congratulations! Not only on your first draft but writing a post that is so true to many aspiring writers. I have found myself tugging pages out of my notebook, making them into a ball and launching them towards the bin. This is definitely one for my bucket list! Congratulations again and I hope you keep going!

  6. Pingback: It was only a matter if time. I’ve fallen out of love with my story | Lisa Tiller

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