First draft of first novel: Fait accompli

I just finished it.

I was hoping to have it wrapped before New Year’s Eve–new year, new project-kinda thing–but what with the usual Christmas busyness around the house plus a Covid scare requiring added family isolation time and hours spent online trying in vain to get a quality test booked before finally scoring one, plus then a multi-day visit with an aunt when the result finally came back negative, the last couple of weeks of the year were a bit jammed.

Having said that, it’s the completed first draft of the first novel I’ve ever written, so timing be damned, I’ll take it.

It ended up being a notch under 143,000 words, or what would be in the range of 280-odd novel-sized pages. But that will almost certainly be trimmed down whenever I pull it up again to edit it after it spends long enough in a proverbial drawer that I’m seeing it with fresh(er) eyes.

I’m not as thrilled as I expected to be–any number of psychology articles will tell you that people tend to think wanted things will feel better than they end up feeling when you get them and that unwanted things will feel worse than they end up feeling–but I’m definitely happy with it.

Happy to prove to myself that I can write a novel (regular blog readers may recall that about a year ago I wasn’t sure I could or even should bother continuing with it).

Happy to know that because I’ve done it, I know I can do it again.

Happy that it’s finally done. (Yes, I know it’s just the first draft, but particularly with it being my first time a single story has reached novel length, even doing that much alone is huge.)

The timing of its completion is also notable. Maybe even a Sign. Becky Chambers wrote that The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet only happened thanks to fifty-three supporters on Kickstarter who believed in her sample work enough to sponsor her finishing that book. Which she then self-published and, upon it getting enough attention from a group of fans, it was picked up and published by a traditional publishing house. And since then she’s won awards for the series.

Will that all happen to me? I mean… likely not. Let’s be realistic.

But it could.

And even if it doesn’t–I’m easily objective enough about this kind of thing to know her writing is way better than mine (encouraging, as it pushes me to be better)–that kind of success is a damned inspiring story. And all from humbly self-publishing, which is a path that others have long encouraged me to consider for myself.
There are authors who make a living doing purely self-publishing. And I’ve said for ages that even if I made a very modest living from my own writing, I’d be over the moon.

So… maybe?

Something for me to noodle on.

Meanwhile, I’m already working on my next big project (the essays I’ve mentioned before which I’m already well into writing), and after–or more likely, knowing me, probably during–that, I’ll suss out what’s next.

I’ll celebrate finishing my very first first draft in some fitting way this evening, because Huzzah!

And then, tomorrow, it’s right back to more writing.

As Mandalorians will tell you, this is the way.