I actually did it. I made a plan, and I stuck to it.
I AM AMAZING.
Seriously though, this gives me hope that I can actually handle full-time study or even work as well as writing. All chapters have now been summarised and had secondary notes made on them, with particular emphasis on what I want to change, as well as – briefly – summarising what actually happens in each chapter. Now to make that master-list of beta feedback, and then a list of my ideas for what I want the story to be, whether or not the ideas fit together, and then I’ll get started on planning draft 2, shifting scenes around and whatnot. I’ve already done a bit of it and it feels pretty solid, so I’m looking forward to more.
Reading it so fast gave me a whole new perspective on the pacing of the story as well, in this first draft form;i t changed my perspective entirely – the first time I was focusing on it from chapter to chapter, whereas this time I found it much easier to see it as a whole story and how it flowed from one part to the next. And it really is humbling to be able to read through and make pretty concise notes on a manuscript that it took me a year to write, and four months to make preliminary notes on afterwards. Like, super-humbling.
And it was so rewarding that I almost want to read it again.
It might not hurt, actually, because I feel so much more familiar with the story as a whole now, and that bird’s-eye view is really helpful. But it would probably be overkill. I might come back to it after draft 2 planning just to do some last-minute checking, but most likely not. We’ll see.
It’s also got me thinking about how I think of my life. I tend to cordon it off into sections and give them different thematic meanings (especially the not-so-happy stuff), more like how I read through the draft to make notes the first time – piece by piece, meticulous, zoomed-in, and exclusionary. Now having experienced the peripheral thrill of fast-reading my own work, I’m starting to think that I may have missed out on a lot by being so engrossed in my own history, and made it seem like a bigger deal than it is. Gonna put that in the life-draft and row it.
I just seriously feel so uplifted and motivated right now. And the next novel I draft – which is the one I finished the first draft of before I started university – I almost can’t wait to get to work on. I finally now know at least part of why I couldn’t ever get momentum up for the second draft of that one: I started over from scratch. I didn’t finish reading the draft to make notes. I basically just chest-pressed myself into the ground as hard as possible, and it turns out that I had an adverse reaction to that. This time, I know what to do, or at least I know something that works a lot better than starting over and basically invalidating – well, with that book, over a year’s worth of writing. Seriously, that book took a long time to write. But I stuck to schedule more or less, wrote four pages a day almost every day, and got it done. And I really want to get it done. I miss that story. I miss being invested in it.
For now, though, I’m loving being invested with Tallulah. There is so much potential, and knowing that I have the potential for a quick turnaround (not including the year and a half before this point of course) is really heartening. I now think I could actually be done with draft 2 in three months, and draft 3 by the end of the year, at which point I’ll submit it for publishing.
Tomorrow I’m going to find out if I can actually go back to university at all, and if I can, I think I will. I feel reinvigorated, and university was sometimes a very energising place to be. Unless some really awesome job opportunity turns up and I actually manage to land it before then, of course. I doubt that’s going to happen, but you never know.
It has taken a LONG time for me to get to this point as a writer, and I wish I’d gotten here sooner. I’m hardly old, but I’ve felt old since I was 18, so my opinion probably doesn’t count in that regard. However, I can’t help but think that if I’d had these skills and this confidence when I was younger …
Ah well. Lots of ‘if only’s. None of them change anything. This has been a change, and one I’m really happy with.
Time to see if I can’t apply it to other areas of my life as well. Because being a writer is most definitely not just about writing.