So I just finished the first draft of my second novel. To some people that may not be a big accomplishment. Some people have done way more stuff!! But to me, with only one other finished book to my name, it is a LOT.
I’ve written about this in past posts, but to be brief: I genuinely didn’t know when or if I’d ever have the time, energy, or motivation to write another novel. I truly didn’t think it would ever happen. My first novel was written during grad school, so I was working 10 hours a week and writing the rest of the time. Honestly, I didn’t think I had it in me to write a whole book while working full time. But you know what? I fucking did. I DID!!! And I’m so, so so so so proud of myself.
I’m proud of myself for letting go of the self-imposed pressure to be perfect. This was a book I wrote for myself, purely because I wanted to. I’m going to polish it up and make it more readable and try to get it published, sure. But if it never gets published, honestly, I’ll be okay. The reason I wrote this book was to write it. That’s it. I wanted to say, at the end of 2018, “I wrote that goofy fun sci-fi novel I always wanted to write! I fuckin’ did it!”
And now I can say that!
I’m also proud of myself for writing even when it was hard as fuck. I’d get home at 6:00 PM every night after an hour in LA traffic, take my dog for a walk, change into my lounge clothes, make dinner, watch an episode of whatever show, and by then I was ready for bed. But I didn’t go to bed, or keep watching TV, like I really wanted to; I wrote. I wrote during my lunch breaks at work. I wrote on the weekends. I blew people off to write. I think I have carpal tunnel growing in my left wrist now.
But I did the work that I needed to do, and now I have a first draft.
AAHHHH!!! I’m just so proud of myself???
I did a thread about this on twitter, but I am proud of myself and very grateful for the steps I’ve taken away from comparing myself to others all the time. I still do it, but in the past year I’ve found a sort of peace with working a full-time job to pay the bills, and just writing for fun. I used to feel an intense urgency when it came to my writing, like every second I wasn’t published or famous was a second wasted. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and more tired, but I am happy just sitting here writing bad novels on my own time until one of them is maybe good enough to publish.
Anyway, I don’t know, I’m just… really fucking excited about this. I did what I set out to do at the beginning of the year, and it is no small thing. It’s an amazing feeling, setting big goals for yourself and then meeting them.
And listen. You can do it too. I don’t know if my garbled words here will find purchase anywhere, but if you’re reading this, and you have a creative project you want to do but you’re not sure if it’ll be good or if people will like it — UM, FUCK IT?? Just do it! Just do it for you, because it’s in you and you were born to do it. It’ll be a lot of work, but at the end, shit, you will feel good.
And truly, you owe it to yourself. I’ve realized, after years of inner conflict and self-criticism, that I’m still a writer. That’s who I am. The pure joy and sense of fulfillment that I got out of writing this book is the evidence I needed. I’m a writer, I always have been, and I didn’t grow out of it like I’d worried I had.
Is it dorky to say it’s my calling? Yeah. But I genuinely feel like it’s my calling, whether or not I ever make a dime from it. Writing is my goddamn shit. It makes me feel like a whole person.
I’m so proud of myself.
3 thoughts on “first draft thoughts”
You have grown, and that’s not only not inevitable, but the core challenge for each of us. Bravo!!!!
hi, I just wanted to say that I’ve been very stuck and frustrated by my writing for a long time (it is a common therapy topic). I didn’t study writing in school, I don’t work in anything related to it but it’s always been something I wanted to do and enjoyed but the past few years have been hard. I really questioned whether this was still something I wanted or could even enjoy. I follow you on twitter and saw you finished your book (congrats! btw) but I recently read thru your blog and this entry really hit me hard. I’ve read A LOT of writing advice/encouragement type stuff but for whatever reason “writing is my goddamned shit” lit some kind of fire in me and has become a bit of a mantra. And since I’ve read it I’ve been writing everyday and am back to plotting out my novel idea. So just wanted to say thanks for sharing this and hopefully I can get to this same place eventuslly. I intend to really give it my all, for me, because I believe writing is my goddamned shit, too. (also holy shit sorry this was so long)
this is so fucking great. I’m so glad my ramblings lit a fire under your ass. keep writing, keep writing! if writing is your shit, just write, you gotta! I’m so happy for you, and honestly hmu on twitter if u ever need a pep talk or encouragement!!! I’M SO GLAD, FUCK YEAHHH
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