There was a part of me when I wrote the last sentence of Killer, Candor, Liar, Lover that was in total disbelief that I had really completed a novel. And I don’t want this to sound like a bunch of patting my own back or tooting my own horn (if your more musical) but I feel really good, like here is something that I created and finished.
Of course it’s not complete, it is simply the first step on my way to seeing my novel in print or on a Kindle or Nook: it is the first draft.
My next step is the rewrite. One of the things that thankfully I have noticed over the course of putting 84,722 words down on paper is that the quality has become progressively better. So while I will need to go back and rewrite the first 84,720 words the last two, The End, are solid.
Of course I’m just being a little silly in my complete giddiness for having accomplished my goal. Now that I have a finished my first draft I’m so ready to begin doing the rewrite. For Christmas my wife sent me a book titled Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. I was so excited when I received it and immediately jumped into the book only to find that the author, Donald Maass, suggests that his workbook is more successful when using it with a complete manuscript. So I set the book on the shelf and eagerly waited for my chance to open it up and get started.
As I’ve talked about before I had a long stretch of years where I really didn’t accomplish much of what I started and the few things I did complete I immediately sat down and took up residence on those small achievements (like I’m not even bothering playing Super Mario Brothers 2 because I already saved the princess). I saw it happen with several guys I had known from basic training who went on after accomplishing a very physically challenging course and in the process losing lots of weight and becoming more fit only to return home our to there next duty station to become the guy who just sits around and doesn’t have to do anything more because they already got fit and did that training. Of course in a few more months they were back to where they had started wondering why.
So what I’m saying is don’t rest around too long. I’m reveling in my achievement because it means a great deal to me, it showed me that I can write a novel, which means I can write more novels. But I’m not sitting around waiting for everyone to come up and tell me how great it is because I can see that the road ahead is still requiring more from me and I’ll give it everything it needs in order for me to reach my ultimate goal of publishing my book.
I’d like to share a few small things that I have learned from this process:

  1. It is possible.
  2. It takes work.
  3. If it’s not working, adapt and change.
  4. Celebrate.

It is possible. I set a goal, wrote it down and made it happen. How amazing is it that we live in a world where we can make what we want in life happen. I think in my life there have been so many times that I have looked at a task and said “This is not possible.” I wonder how many things I could have accomplished had I known that the reality of any situation is: it can happen, it is possible. The other side of that coin is that making the possible happen will not take place with out work.
I think that the four letter word work is the swear that escapes the lips most for those who fail to accomplish their New Years resolutions. Work, or the fear of work held me back in the past because I was not willing to make the sacrifices needed to accomplish what I wanted to have happen. Very little happens without work. If you want what is possible to happen you need to figure out what it’s going to take. When I was writing my novel I set smaller goals that were manageable and I had to give up other things that I wanted to do to make room for my new goal. I also put in the time everyday. I heard someone say that results are the outcome of action multiplied by time, or something to that effect. What it means is if you do small things everyday they create the big thing you want.
In my writing I came to three sections that just didn’t work, I was sitting down with paper and pen in hand and fighting to get every single word. At first I simply used the above method and it worked I had a chapter done, it was the hardest chapter I had ever written and I tossed it because it still didn’t work. It never worked. Did I stop writing the novel? Of course not, I did have to change tactics, adapt, which lead me to a chapter that flowed simply. Life is ever changing and you either continue to adapt to those changes, still making your way to your original goal or you fight it and end up taking a much harder and longer path that you may find in the end has not lead you where you really wanted to go.
When you reach the end of the path, before taking the first steps down the next path stop and enjoy what you’ve accomplished. Life is about learning how to let go of suffering and embrace the good that is there. When you accomplish a goal that’s good and it needs to be embraced, shared and celebrated.

Did I tell you that I finished my novel? Pretty cool huh?