I finished the second draft of Saviours of Falharest a few days ago. I have some feelings about it. I want to share them because maybe others have these feelings too.
It took two and a half months to write the first draft. I wrote for 2 hours nearly every day in that time. As I was writing the last page, I knew it was nearly done. I could feel it, and this adrenaline coursed through me like I was about to get punched in the face. When I typed in that last period, I felt like leaping out of my chair. I'd accomplished this, I was done. I'd done something I didn't think would be possible, something I never thought I'd accomplish. It's a bit of a stereotype: "new writer does thing that all other writers do and can't believe it." Truth is, there isn't much there that's impressive. There's no magic, no secret club of people who can do this thing. You just sit down and write, over and over again. That last bit is what gets most people, I think. I made it part of my day, and part of my life. That's the only reason I finished the thing.
I'm looking back on it now with shit-coloured glasses only because I've got this maelstrom of weird emotion in me now. That sounded a bit too dramatic, it's really more like London weather than Hurricane Harvey. Gloomy and depressing and really not that notable. It's my first first draft, and I should be proud of it. I think I still am. Maybe this is a result of me trying to stifle my unreasonable expectations. See the thing is, now I've finished my second draft. I was pumped to be finding so many mistakes because it meant I was getting better. Now though, after finishing, I sent the thing off to some beta readers. I'm not sure what would be worse, hearing that it sucks, or getting the blank stares of "I don't get it." I'm thinking back on the draft, and thinking I should be making massive changes to the thing, like the whole structure needs upheaval before being an acceptable piece of fiction. Maybe that's a normal feeling; I bet the aftermath of an exorcism is never too comfortable.
I think this reaction means I need to leave the thing alone for a while, at least until the feedback starts coming back. I want to get this novel done quickly, only because I want to find out how quickly I can finish these projects. Am I a two novels a year kind of writer or a two novels a lifetime kind? I'm hoping for the former, and I'm scared some upcoming revelation will force me into the second camp. I'm in that headspace where I'm crippled by my future, by imagining all the alternate timelines I might hurtle towards. It's keeping me from writing. I've got a novella I've been wanting to work on for weeks, and I can't get myself to buckle down and work at it because I feel like I should be focusing all my energy into the novel. But then I tell myself I should at least wait for some feedback, so I have a jumping off point for the next edit.
Not sure what I'm going to do. Probably going to convince myself that I still have plenty of time left, so I can get at least some kind of work done before the day's out. I hope I don't' have to drop this novel, because I haven't yet succeeded in convincing myself I have to be fine with that if it needs to happen.