I started my first draft about two and a half years ago, maybe three. I joined a crit site and put up my initial chapters and was soundly berated for my use of adverbs. I quit, shoved it aside for months. Then I came back to it.
I decided to enter the Fantasy/SciFi contest put on by the L Ron Hubbard people. Wrote about 6 chapters, packaged part of it as a novella and shipped it off, with no feedback and no response. I didn’t win, no surprise. Still very green.
I shoved it aside again.
Then a few months later, I kept going. So now, after a lot of crit given to others and received, I’m nearly done with the first draft. I know where my plot holes are and where the structure needs help, but my long-suffering and amazingly self-controlled editor/friend has forbidden me to touch it until it’s finished. I disobeyed her once and now know better than to try it again.
I have twelve chapters left. Then I get to rewrite it.
She said to me, and she’s right… what I have now is like a very detailed outline.
I think pantsers must spend more time rewriting than outliners. She wants me to outline more and honestly, I’m trying.
I keep consoling myself that this is a milestone, but all I see is the two more books it will take to tell this story and I’m deathly afraid if I don’t keep going then I won’t get it all out. I don’t want to be stuck in an editing loop.
The up side is my best friend, my husband, will finally read it. He’s refused to read it until I finish the book. A wise man, yes, he is.
So the plan is to do a very detailed outline of book two and three and then ship this piece off to my long-suffering, masochistic editor along with the outline. Then I’ll do what she says. I’m going to listen to her.
I will not stomp and yell and scream and tear my hair out like a petulant child. I will not argue or curse or fall into self-pity. I will not quit again.
But I will sit here and pout a little bit. I’m excited to be in the home stretch. Excited to finally finish. But it feels like I’m going to be sent right back to the starting line and that makes me grouchy. I’m impatient by nature. I want to ship. This thing is not even half-baked and it’s causing me to go through the stages of grief before I even polish off the first part. Am I going to be this emotional over the whole thing?
Maybe I should quit writing and go to therapy?
The two things at war in me are the child who is impatient to finish and the adult that says “Enjoy the journey.” Some tiny part of my heart keeps whispering that this is like watching my children grow. When it’s over, I’ll be angry that I missed part of it by whinging. It’s telling me to savor this.