It was sometime in my high school years that I decided I was going to be a writer. I enjoyed reading so much, the idea of coming up with my own stories and worlds to share with others was greatly appealing. In fact, it’s arguable that everyone who enjoys fiction plays around with the idea of becoming a writer and creator themselves from time to time. This decision was followed by several attempts to write a story.
I still remember those first few “books” I attempted to write. They served their purpose by providing me with practice, but recalling my first pathetic attempts at word-smithing causes me to cringe. We’ll just say some projects should die and leave it at that.
It wasn’t until college that I finally had an idea that grew into the project I’m currently working on today. The idea came from a brainstorming session with my two closest friends. The seed of this story started with the simple idea of a giant mechanical dragon. (Yes, we were nerds. But the idea sounded like a fun one.) From there came the questions of what kind of character would make such a colossus and for what purpose? What kind of world did they live in? I wanted to combine my love of both science fiction and fantasy in a way that I hadn’t seen before- a technological world with medieval structural influences. I wanted dragons and kingdoms and castles, but I also wanted aliens and spaceships. In a world like this, it seemed fitting that a character that invented a mechanical dragon would be named Mage.
And so it began.
I was majoring in English Writing, so I was able to pull from this idea for several of my school assignments. I added to my first draft in my spare time, but it was very slow going. I graduated with barely five chapters drafted.
Then came NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know about NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, I highly suggest you check it out. This project is what saved Mage from entering into the bottomless pit that I cast my other stories into. I had heard of NaNo before, but I’d always written it off as too hard, or not for me. However, shortly after getting married, I decided to give it a try. So I threw myself head long into NaNoWriMo 2016 and “failed” miserably. The general goal of those who participate is to reach 50,000 words, which is the general length of a novel, in one month. My first year I think I wrote 11,000. I was disappointed at the time, I really wanted to hit that 50k goal, but that was my first real push to actually getting words on the page.
This past year I did NaNo again, with the goal of adding 50,000 words, or just finishing the draft in general. I didn’t finish this goal by the end of November, but I did finish it in January.
So if you haven’t realized it yet, this is the first time that I have EVER finished a novel’s first draft. And I’m super excited.
But it’s a mess. It’s a big, fat, mess of a draft and I’m afraid to look at it.
All of my friends who are also writers have told me that after you finish a first draft you are supposed to let it sit for a week before editing. I think I’ve let it sit for a month. Granted that month was spent nesting, my first baby was due in the month of February, so it’s fair to say I had other things on my mind.
But as I start to look at it again, it’s hard to not see an insurmountable pile of crap that needs to be cleaned up.
However, I’ve made it this far, so I’m not going to quit now. My goal at this point is to go through at least one chapter a week. With the new baby and a job, I think this is as reasonable a goal as I can make. Hopefully I’ll be able to go faster, but I need to start somewhere and get past the scary overwhelming feeling and just write.
I hope this can inspire some of you to stick to your own writing goals, even if it’s a slow process like it is for me. Many people say that if you want to be a serious writer, you have to write every day. For some of us, that’s just not feasible. Instead, make yourself a goal that works for you and your life and hold yourself accountable. If you write, then you are a writer.