The first draft is done! I have slapped over 66,000 words into my computer’s hard drive—and when I say slapped, I mean slapped. This is a complex story and the first draft was a brain dump. I don’t kid myself that this novel is anywhere near finished.
This is the fourth time I’ve completed a novel’s first draft. For my first two, I considered the first draft a nearly done manuscript. A few touch-ups and voilà: ready for publication. (And it almost worked out that way; I signed on with an agent for the first novel, but she was unfortunately not able to find it a publisher. The second novel I have disagreed with and placed aside.)
My third novel was different. I wrote a draft, modified it while working with a mentor through Humber College’s Creative Writing by Correspondence program, then modified it again while working with my agent. The first draft was one of many, many drafts (and I expect more once a publisher signs on)—and was possibly the simplest draft of all. Rewriting until you can find little else to rewrite is much more challenging, I find, than getting the initial ideas out of your head.
So although I feel accomplished to have this latest first draft done, I know the hardest work still lies ahead. I wasn’t thorough; there are gaps. I’m not satisfied; there are bits I’d like to alter. In fact, I’ve already thought of new ideas that will radically revise the work. (Couldn’t I be happy with the way it stands? Why voluntarily add pressure?)
For maybe a week or two, I’ll give myself time to breathe. And then I’ll reread the entire thing. And then I’ll dive in again. And then I’ll wonder why I’m bound to a creative outlet that’s so gosh-darn hard—but keep plugging away at it anyway.