Welcome to my triumphant (and let’s not forget brave) return to blogging after taking over a full month off. I never formally announced that I would be taking the time off because in an unexpected turn of events, I ACTUALLY FINISHED MY BOOK!
If you’ve been a Brimming reader for awhile, or follow me on Instagram, you have followed my journey with this book. From the excitement of the beginning, the slog of the middle, the first and only excerpt from the story, the highs the lows and everywhere in between. Straight through to this massively unexpected, but nevertheless amazing, creative surge I experienced throughout the month of June.
Every waking second I wasn’t taking care of my child or sleeping this past month, I was writing. I stayed up late, I woke up early, I pushed through fatigue, frustration, technical difficulties and a wildly inconvenient summer flu to be able to write the words I’ve never managed to reach on any other project before: ‘The End’.
I’ve been writing stories my entire life, have won NaNoWriMo twice, and even written 400 pages on another novel. But never, not once, have I finished a book. I wept when I finished it, not just because I love the story (I do), or because I love the characters (my god, I do), but because no matter what happens with it, this is the book that got me to believe that I am going to be doing this the rest of my life.
This is the book that transformed me from a writer in concept, to a writer in practice. The story that pushed me through deep discomforts, that called me back to the desk chair again and again, that had me going so deeply inward I have been getting calls and texts from friends and family asking if I’m alive and well (Yes and YES!).
My first draft is still a first draft. It’s lumpy, it has plot holes, too many meandering scenes, and (much like my blog posts), an excessive use of the words “just” and “so”. So what? I pushed through that nagging (absurd) desire to be the first and only writer of all time who wrote a perfect draft on the first try, and instead just wrote as often and as thoroughly as I could. I’ve let perfect be the enemy of good for far too long. Not anymore.
I’ve been working on this story for over a year. These characters have been in my head and on my heart every single day. I’ve been crowded with teenage angst and feeling, overwhelmed with the responsibility of getting this story right, exhilarated to try. In a word, it’s been an experience.
I had no idea I could be this happy.
The journey of the past year, from starting this blog, to finishing this book, has cemented what has always been true: writing is my burning purpose. I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.
I had to finish this draft to know if I was even up to the task of this career I’ve been saying I want. I now want it more than ever. Now, I can feel the momentum building in a way it never has before, even if I’m the only one building it.
Next steps for me will include beta-readers, revisions, edits, and rewrites before it’s even close to complete (if you have any tips on this phase please let me know). There is still a hell of a lot more work ahead. Yet, I’m taking a moment to pause. To both catch up on life (so much laundry) and to reflect on just how far I’ve come.
I’ve made it out of the gnarled forest in which I’ve been lost for years, and I’m suddenly staring at a clear and golden trail ahead. This first draft has planted me solidly on the path I’ve been seeking my whole life. I’m walking the damn walk.
Thank you so much for walking beside me.
If you’re also in or have done the beta-reader/revising/editing phase, please let me know your tricks and tips in the comments! I’m going to need a lot of help.