January 9, 2006

My last Book post finished with me experiencing that hollow sinking feeling one gets when a deadline is in danger of getting missed. I had never had a 50-page month and here I was facing the need to crank out exactly that.

Lucky for me, I work really well given a deadline. I finished adapting to the part-time work schedule, I got rid of all my other procrastination projects, and I wrote. I had some really good days. The 5 hour layover at the Calgary airport on October 28th didn't hurt either. Although I wish airports would get with the program and scatter electrical outlets all over the waiting areas. I'd rather slouch in a comfy chair with my laptop on my lap than work in those boxy "workbooths", posture be damned.

I hit the Enter key on page 200 sometime in the afternoon of October 31st, right on schedule. Then I took the usual post-milestone break, but this time I kept it to a couple of days instead of a couple of months.

The really good news is that in mid-December, three and a half months ahead of my work plan, I finished the first draft. Granted, at slightly under 55,000 words, it's really a novella, not a novel. Most of the reading I've done claims it's easier to add than trim, though, so I'm not too worried.

Finishing the draft was anti-climactic, somehow. The book does not feel done by any means. I'm now facing a yawning unknown, as I had definite goals up until now, but hadn't planned much beyond the first draft. This is the danger time for me, the likeliest point at which I'll fail, for two reasons: I like to get things right the first time, and I have a short attention span. Getting the draft done was the easy part. I've been mentally steeling myself for six months for the revision part.

A friend told me the other day that I should reward myself for finishing the draft. Maybe. It came so soon after I rewarded myself for Milestone 2 that I think I'll wait. Although I did get accepted to an online mentorship that will supply me with my first unbiased feedback. So maybe that's my reward. More work.

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