7.30.2014

That Day I Finished Writing My First Novel

I keep a lot of things to myself.  No one outside my immediate family knew I was even writing a novel until after I'd already been working on it for two years.  It didn't feel real for a really long time so it didn't even seem worth mentioning and now that I'm done I still haven't really mentioned it.  I didn't post about it here until I'd been seriously working on it for nine months.  June 11th, 2014 at 12:15pm.  Three years (five if we're getting technical about it) 450 pages of double spaced Times New Roman and 106,585 words later I finished my novel.  Just the week before I had to quit working on it because I hated it so much.  I was so close to the end and I just wanted to be done with it already so I forced myself to keep opening up that word document.  On that day I went at it again and two hours later there was nothing left to type. 
Me and my manuscript
My first thought was Oh my gosh.  I think I just finished my novel.  I sat there staring at my screen for a few minutes while my eyes welled up with tears.  I sat with it for a while on my own.  It felt like the best way to really take it in and enjoy the incredible wave of happiness washing over me.  I thought about texting my mom or MJ but I decided I'd rather say it in person because it's not something you get the opportunity to say very often. Then I tweeted it because what else do you do in this day and age?  I was bursting.  I had to tell someone and it was my way of shouting it out to the world but at the same time still keeping it a wonderful secret to enjoy and savor for myself.  I got some really sweet replies from some of you that made me even more excited.

I didn't look at it for a few days after I finished but then tons of ideas started rolling in and the editing process began.  It was non stop.  I was jotting down notes in my phone and imagining different scenarios in my head constantly. Every time I looked at it I was frantically adding or changing something.   It was way easier then writing the thing in the first place.  I was really enjoying it and had a lot more fun with it than I had in a while.  That went on for a month until it got really exhausting and I needed it to stop.  I added 3,219 words and 14 pages by then when I have a feeling I probably need to trim it down.  I was so enmeshed that after a while I couldn't see what I was reading anymore.  I felt like I was changing things just to be changing them so I knew it was time to take a break.  I still hadn't made up my mind about letting anyone read it.

My parents were coming down that Saturday and I decided right then and there that I was going to FedEx Kinko's to print it out and I was going to let my mom read it.  I always knew that if I let anyone read it at all it would be her.  I had come to a nice resting point with the editing and I couldn't look at it anymore so it seemed like the right time to take a break.  I can get some feedback, regroup and then go over it again for more edits with a fresh eye.

It takes a while to print out that many pages so we were there for a bit and it was really special having my mom there.  At one point the lady doing the print job said, "So who's the author?" I got to raise my hand and say, "Me.  I wrote it,"  and that felt really good.  Thank goodness I told her double sided because when finished it was pretty thick.  It cost me $25 bucks! I planned to put it into a binder but it would have been a whole lot of pages to three hole punch and I didn't even have a binder that thick so it went into a box.  That stack of paper is a physical representation of  so much time and effort.  I wrote all of that?  It's really hard to believe.  I finally have something to show for all those years I've been tapping away at my computer.   I can officially say I have a manuscript now and it feels really strange because I never imagined myself to be a person that would ever get to say that.  
My shadow on the beaches of Playa Del Carmen, MX
I didn't know how to start writing a novel and then once I started I didn't know if I could finish.  For 2 1/2 years I essentially gave up.  Life got busy and I must be crazy to think I can actually write a novel anyway.  I put it aside but that desire to write kept on coming back.  That yearning to finish what I started would not go away so I dusted it off and committed myself to 15 pages a month for however long it took.  I didn't put too much pressure on myself which was helpful.  When I reached the minimum acceptable novel length word count I just focused on finishing the story and finishing it this year.  When it was finally done I didn't know if I'd ever print it out, then I didn't know if I'd let anyone read it and now I don't know if I'll ever publish.  I've been winging it every step of  the way. Going from the desire to write a novel to the act of spending three years actively trying to do it has been all about me loving to write and wanting to do it for myself.  With all honesty, I can truly say that finishing it was my ultimate goal and if I never do a thing with it I'll be okay. 

It's fiction.  It might not be any good but the story I've poured my heart and and soul into for three years is done and that alone makes me really happy because wishing I could write a novel got really old.  I wanted to do it.  There are many things in life I haven't got a shot in hell at accomplishing but deep down I knew that writing a novel was not one of those things.  I wasn't convinced I could do it but I had to try because there are some things in life that you know you have to do even if you don't believe that you can.  I wanted to accomplish at least one goal in my lifetime that I could be really be proud of.  This is that thing and I'm glad to finally be able to say I did it.  

25 comments :

Disa Chantel said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I started working on one about a month ago, and I told myself I'd write a page a day, but that hasn't happened. This is so inspiring, though! Do you mind sharing what it's about?

Kalyn V said...

Congratulations! That is such a huge accomplishment! What did you write about?

Susannah said...

Good for you, girlie!!! Now, are you going to work on getting it published??? ;-)

Robin Hardeman said...

Congrats on this milestone, first novel! Best wishes with this endeavor!
http://www.robincharmagne.com/blog

Miss MP said...

So cool! Congratulations!

cashanamusings said...

Well done...Congratulations!

Jacqueline Hough said...

Congratulations! I am so proud of you! Next stop--New York Times bestseller list!

Iammorethanmyjob said...

Congratulations! I hope you decide to publish it. At least tell us what it's about!

Jully Ajose said...

Congrats!!! I just found your blog through disa's blog. I absolutely love it and you are amazing.

Jully @ www.juelsengels.com

A Life Less Traveled said...

Congrats on finishing your novel! That is definitely something to be proud of.

Tami said...

So very exciting. Congrats! I can't wait to buy your book one day soon when you get published, because I know you will!

Faith said...

I am so, so happy and proud of you. This post gave me goose bumps! Just so you know, I will be the first one to buy your book when you publish it! :)

Newlyweds on a Budget said...

There are some people you hear are writing a novel and you go "really???" with that side eye glance (but of course, you don't say this to their face). And then there are people like you--who I completely believe would write a kick-ass novel that I could actually get into. I am sure it is absolutely fabulous. I LOVE your writing style. So of course, the question is what comes next?

ccriley said...

Congratulations! Having gone through the process, I can't even begin to put enough excitement into it! You did it!

Thanks for stopping by www.ccriley.com!

Tomes Edition said...

Congrats that's a huge accomplishment.

Carly Blogs Here said...

This is so awesome Cece! I remember when you posted about it on Twitter! I can only imagine how amazing it would be to have it printed out in your hands! This is definitely inspiring to read- I have so many half-written stories and hopefully one day novels, on my computer, sometimes I think I need to just force myself to refocus and finish!

Law_Fal said...

I'm so happy for you! This has always been a dream of mine to finish the novel I started before life got in the way & you are definitely INSPIRATION! So happy and proud of your accomplishment!!!!!!!!!!!!

Law_Fal said...

Love that quote by the way..........

Hallie Oceanside said...

I am so dang proud of you!
That is so so so amazing!

Congrats!

Renae said...

Congratulations to you!! That is awesome and you should be very proud of yourself. Please share more about it

Janna Renee said...

OMG OMG!! You know I've been routing you along the whole time!! I'm so proud of you, and it gives me chills to see you holding that 'fat stack' ;) of painstakingly written words!

Discovery Street said...

Cece that is so incredible!! What an amazing feeling !!

mypixieblog said...

You should feel so incredibly proud of yourself for finishing your novel, for printing it out, and for having someone look it over. That alone takes guts :) Whatever you decide to do with it at this point is your call--the worst part is over. And when I saw this picture, I totally thought you were holding a cake :) LOL!! I say go out and celebrate with one!

Pegster said...

Wow Cece, Congratulations lady. What a great achievement. I am totally buying it when it' s published and please I want an autograph :)

Brittany said...

Cece, this is AMAZING!! So, so proud of you! You are truly an inspiration to me (and clearly so many others). Way to go, lady!

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