“It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it’s the journey in the end that matters.”
I crossed the 50k word count for NaNo on the 26th, but it was into the beginning of the 30th that I truly accomplished my goal.
This NaNo, I aimed to complete the rewrite and creation of my final draft for my novel The Closer. At the beginning of this year, I had written and edited my fifth draft and believed that one would be the last. I was pumped to get it professionally edited, polished, and start querying agents – my first foray into the traditional publishing world.
Things took an ugly turn when the first editor I hired ended up being a fraud and scamming me $1000. My entire timeline for the novel disintegrated as what followed was months worth of stress, strife, and conflict. The conflict wasn’t just with the editor in question; a lot of it was internalized.
There was a lot of love lost between me and the novel itself. By the time I picked myself up from the harrowing incident with the editor, I was drained and had little motivation to rework the draft on my own.
This NaNo changed all that.
After seven months, I returned to my book. Equipped with constructive critique from beta readers, I decided that I’d use NaNo 2020 as an opportunity to work on finalizing the draft, rewriting and changing up some major plot elements and, all in all, perfecting the draft on my own.
What did I learn in the process? Perfection doesn’t exist.
It was halfway through the month that I realized the draft I was working now, the one I so hoped would be the last, is far from finished. As I ruthlessly killed my darlings and rewrote several chapters, I identified other loopholes in this new plot; things that will merit another round of editing after NaNo.
This time, I didn’t stress over the realization. Sure, my timeline for querying agents and potential publication is severely delayed following the editor mishap and other events but…maybe that was for the best.
Through every round of self-editing and rewriting, I haven’t just been refining the novel and honing my craft; I’ve also been learning a lot more about myself. Over the past five years, I’ve grown as a person. The 18-year old that penned the first draft of The Closer had a very different understanding of love, a very different relationship with the novel and its characters than the 23-year old woman I am today.
The story in itself has matured alongside the woman that wrote it. I reflected upon that while working this draft.
Some novels require just three or four edits; others might require hundreds. But what counts is that, no matter what stage it’s at, you pour your love and passion into your work.
I completed the draft yesterday – having managed to successfully reduce the manuscript length from 138k words to 98k. It’s still far from complete but I took a moment to celebrate my success.
While the journey has been a long one and there is still no definite end that I can make out ahead of me, I’ve learned to take things in stride and cherish everything I’ve learned throughout it.
The novel’s vision evolved a great deal, and so has mine. Rather than fret about how much closer I am to The End, I’m going to take a pit-stop and give the manuscript a few days to breathe.
My journey is far from over but now, it’s time I treat myself to a well-deserved break.