…and how to survive it!
Two weeks ago, I finally finished the first draft of my very first novel. Well, almost. I knew I wanted to make it end with an epilogue but somehow couldn’t get up with the right vibe to write it.
So I decided it was time to start a completely new chapter in this book-writing adventure and do what I feared most : editing.
I have read quite a lot of scary things about it. That it’ll take more time than the writing itself (noooo!), that you’ll have to cut some 50.000 words or 30% of your writing (*grumble*), and more or less: that it will cause the most excruciating pain.
So I procrastinated for a week, then after getting over a flu that completely drowned me in self-pity (you know how an adult with a 37.2 degree temperature can become a grinch? Yup, that’s me), I did the next best thing I could… And bought another notebook… Yup, that, right: yet another notebook.
For me, beautiful notebooks with perfect smooth paper and pens in all colours are the closest I can get to happiness. They give me the courage to tackle something new and scary and completely unknown.
And so, considering that the writing plan to finish the novel had proven to be a good way for me to force me to write consistently, I decided to try the same for this part of the adventure. Only in this instance, I had no idea as to what the phases were and how long it would take me.
Trying to be sort of realistic about what I can manage in an average work week, I divided the task into two parts: First, I would take two weeks for re-reading an checking on consistency in the story, holes in the plot, all the characters that still didn’t have a proper name, etc. Secondly, the gruesome task of rewriting every single chapter, which I allotted with 6 weeks.
Thus, I’m one week into the first basic re-reading and I have to admit that I was really scared of it. What if it was all awful? What if the plot didn’t work? If the whole 150.000 words were plain boring and bad? As I was also listening to a particularly bad audiobook this same week, I was even more panicked. Was my novel as bad as this one? Would anyone really publish something as bad? I really didn’t want to go out there and make a fool of myself with a dreadful story!
So, armed with my highlighting pens and an extremely clever scheme of how to proofread on the first run, I started reading, cringeing at the first pages. Then, I relaxed. And in the end, I almost looked forward to the 2 chapters I read every day and want to get on quicker.
Obviously, the writing is still far from polished, as that will be part of the second phase (that I’m still shit-scared of), but I tell myself to just “go through with it”, one chapter at a time, just like I did with the writing part.
Another week to go, and I’ll have identified the main problems with the story, all jotted down in my other notebook, and that I can work on in parallel. And as with every other scary adventure in life: I will get over it and most probably it won’t even be that painful.