This year has been a strange and difficult year for all of us. The world is going through a period where we are spending more time alone than ever before. I know that for some people it has been more difficult to adapt to this new norm than for others. But when I think back to this year, I can safely say that I am quite happy with the progress I’ve made. I can say that because of Covid I made a lot of progress writing my book. And though it has not been easy, I have found a rhythm in this situation that I quite like.
So the big question now is: Did I finish my first draft? The simple answer is
No, not yet. The expanded answer is that I am still working on the last chapter. The closing part of the chapter as it were. It is outlined but there are still a couple of hours that I need to spend to complete it. It is a slow process, yet I am confident I can finish it in the last weeks of the year. Confidence stemming from my progress over the last weeks and looking back at my progress of the entire year.
Edit December 20th: Finished!
When looking back on the process it has been educational as well as interesting. Writing a first draft of one’s first book is equally exciting and terrifying. From the satisfaction of finishing the first chapter or rearranging the entire book into a solid structure. It all ads up to create an experience I will not forget.
Thinking about the current draft I can already point out a couple of things that I am not happy with. The prose, point of view and the worldbuilding. They show the inexperience of my current self. For now I accept that these elements are not done and will be developed and iterated upon in the months to follow.
The application of structure was the greatest improvement in the process. It allowed for a solid framework so I could make meaningful and creative decisions which added to the narrative.
But the most important thing I learned is having fun while doing it. Feeling the satisfaction of finishing a scene or a chapter. Counting the words to see the physical process as well as noticing the mental improvements by the desire to work on the story multiple evenings a week and during the weekends.
Though I realize this has also been the consequence of my singular goal to finish the first draft this year. Yet I cannot deny that I created the time and (mental) space for it to be important in my life. As will I continue to do next year.
When l think about the next year I am not quite sure how the situation will unfold. I’m writing this on December 14th, the day the Dutch Prime Minister declared the hard lockdown for the next couple of weeks. And as disappointing as it might be for many people, I hold my stance that the situation with Covid continues to give us opportunity to look at our lives in a new perspective. And I encourage you to do so. I learned so much this year and made progress towards my goal of doing something professionally with writing. In the end, all these small steps add up so I can reach my goal.
January will give a fresh perspective and the option to make new decisions for the year to come.* For example I know I will continue with my book, though the text will be put aside for at least a month while I fix some worldbuilding and think about the next steps. As mentioned I already have an indication of what can be improved, and need to decide how to best educate myself on the mentioned subjects.
For now I would like to thank you for reading my First Drafting blog series. I hope it gave you an insight of what I was going through while working on this project, as well as the time and energy that is neccesary to finish it. I sincerely hope that this series also gave you the perspective that though it isn’t always an easy process, it is a fun and fulfilling thing to do. As I mentioned above, I learned a lot and it has given me the confidence to continue on this path.
I wish you happy holidays and stay safe.
* Though you can made those decisions every month of the year, I find January particularly nice since its the start of a new year.