At approximately 2:30 AM I typed the final word on my WIP, Mine Is The Night! I’ve been writing off and on since 2010, but this is the first MS completed after my interesting and thought-provoking experiences of the previous year.
Push through even when I think I’m pounding out dreck. – Nine times out of ten, I will re-read what I’ve written and find that it’s not as bad as I thought.
Recognize the times during the drafting process where I easily lose focus and enthusiasm. – I get wobbly and impatient around the ends of each act when my brain jumps ahead of my story.
Don’t be afraid to write when I’m tired. – Discovering that I’m nearing midnight and have 1-2k left in my word count goal did much to suppress my internal editor because I just wanted to finish for the night!!
Read more in the genre in which I write! – Many dips in my confidence occurred when I second-guessed whether I was writing historical romance the “right way.” I spent most of the past 12-16 months reading non-fiction and historical fiction, with dips into contemporary and paranormal romance, but there was a sharp decline in my historical romance reading. So I must fill up the well.
On that same note: trust my voice and storytelling instincts in spite of my reading. – I took a break last Monday & Tuesday to devour Sherry Thomas’s Fitzhugh Trilogy, which I absolutely adored. They gave me a huge boost of confidence in my WIP, but then I fell into the dreaded trap of comparing my first draft to those revised, rewritten, and professionally edited books! So though I was fully immersed in three great books and found them fun to study from a craft perspective, I had to pull back and realize those were uniquely Sherry Thomas stories, just as my MS is uniquely my own.
I must be my first and best cheerleader. – Pessimism and self-condemnation are easy emotions to wallow in, especially when I approach something as creative and uncontrollable as writing. Since rejection (and bad reviews!) are an inevitable part of this gig, why indulge in the negativity before and during the process of writing?
Know when to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em. – I used to psych myself out by jumping in to discuss the writing, my word count, my goals, my plans, my plot, etc etc because I was so excited by the WIP. Then I realized I’d hyped my emotions to such a fever pitch and piled on expectations to the point where all I could think about was All The Work!! This time around, I mentioned things casually and briefly, thereby giving myself permission to tell the story to me first.
Never underestimate the feeling of having written! – I didn’t realize how grouchy I could get when I couldn’t get back to my laptop at my appointed time to write each day. I think some family members were on the receiving end of the evil eye when they disrupted my schedule, LOL.
So I have an 80,000 word manuscript and oddly enough, I can’t wait to dig into revisions!
What say you? Any lessons learned during your writing process? How do you feel after completing a novel? Any advise for tackling revisions?