As I move toward publication of The King’s Sons on May 31, I’m reflecting back on the crazy conglomeration of emotions I’ve experienced each time I finished a first draft of one of my novels.
The emotions involved in knowing you’ve written the last word of that draft–even if the novel has tons of issues, and you can bet your bottom it does–can be as overwhelming as they are simultaneous.
In fact, they’re probably overpowering because they’re always simultaneous.
Anyway, these are the emotions that always come over me when I finish a novel. What has your experience been, if you’ve completed one or multiple first drafts?
- PRIDE. I accomplished something. I did it! YES! I’m finally a novelist. I have a finished novel!
- DISBELIEF. Holy mess, I have a finished novel! How did this happen? It felt like it would never happen! I mean, even when it got close and I could tell it was going to happen….
- MENTAL EXHAUSTION. Brain. so. tired. I need a celebratory, relaxation sitcom marathon stat. What’s going on at Sacred Heart Hospital these days?
- Or maybe a night on the town with the girls…. (I once ordered celebratory chicken wings, to eat during a celebratory viewing of an Alabama game with one of my best friends at the time.)
- MINOR DESPAIR. It’s a finished novel, but it’s so bad. I mean, awesomely bad. What was I thinking having the evil duke scheme to steal the throne by murder when he could have just married the princess? Why wouldn’t he just marry the princess, seriously? And why…? I’ll have to change SO MANY THINGS.
- GRIEF. I don’t want to wait a month before I read-through and start editing. Man, Stephen King said to wait two. I won’t get through one. I MISS MY CHARACTERS!!! I MISS WRITING ABOUT THEM!!!
- PARANOIA. What if no one likes it? No one’s going to like it. Dude, I just wasted a year of my life writing this trash. Who in the world would ever like this? Well, maybe they’ll laugh at it, if nothing else.
- EUPHORIA. Because I. wrote. a. novel. Booya!
So, what has your experience been when you finish a first draft? Or, how do you imagine it will feel, if you’re en route?
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