I Did It!

by limebirdamber

Limebird Amber here, with a special news report on a happy subject. I have finished the first draft of my novel, Abstaining from Permanence (4/8).

I learned some tips along the way, and I’d like to share them with you. You may have seen them before but I little bit of hammering it into the mind isn’t a bad thing, right? Abstaining from Permanence (AfP) is what I consider my first real attempt at finishing a novel, even though in grade 9 I finished one (that I destroyed). Since and before then, there were quite a few false starts. I still have a lot of the ideas and I’ll get to them, someday.

So, now on to the tips.

  1. Give yourself clear and defined goals. I started AfP last November during NaNoWriMo. I encourage anyone who wants to write to give NaNo a shot. If you don’t know what it is, NaNo is one month to write 50,000 words of novel and I did so. That was my beginning, and also the end of an old life. The last few days of writing were my next hard goal. I gave myself the weekend to finish it. I hadn’t written much on it until the day before the weekend, and I decided no more excuses. You are this close to the end and YOU WILL DO IT OR DIE TRYING. And I did nearly die. It was Easter weekend. So, not only did I have Easter shenanigans to do on Sunday that took up about 5 hours of my day, but the day before I was coerced into going out with Church friends to see a movie in another city and we ended up being going 9 hours. At around 11 pm Sunday though, despite thinking there was no way I was going to finish, I held the end of the novel in my hands. Which leads me into tip two.
  2. Allow yourself disturbances. The weekend I finished also had another thing happen. A friend from out of town came and stayed the night. I thought she was going to stay the weekend but it ended up only being a total of a few hours. I also had the other things happen. Of course, no homework or housework happened, but I did get the novel written. These events pressured me to get my goal finished, especially as time ran down. I had a fire under my you know what. It was good for me. I even managed to get some sleep during this. πŸ˜‰
  3. Change the medium when you’re stuck on your current one. I hadn’t had any luck at the computer typing on the novel for maybe a month. Probably a little over a month. I bought a spiral notebook, took it wherever I went, and just hand-wrote. I’ve had a few people say that they can’t hand-write, for differing but sometimes the same reasons. The most common I heard was their mind worked faster than their hand. Handwriting may not be for you, but maybe you can take the computer in a different room, or change font, or some other silly thing to get you in a different mode. Just change your medium to change your mindset.

These things got me through the process of getting the first draft out. I don’t have the last of the handwritten pages typed but I think it’ll be about 70,000 words. Not too bad, in my eyes.

Now, my question to you, Are you finished with your first draft of your masterpiece? What kind of tips did you learn along the way?

*If you’re interested in seeing some of what AfP looks like, head on over to my blog and click the category ‘Abstaining from Permanence’. You’ll see a few excerpts and also, quite a lot of him yelling at me. He’s a mean novel.

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31 Comments to “I Did It!”

  1. Congrats! Such a good feling to type “The End”! I used to handwrite a lot now I usually just type but it can be really freeing to just let the words pour onto the page!

  2. Congratulations! I’ve been editing mine for over six months now, with a bit of a hiatus in between for perspective. A full go through edit usually takes me ten weeks, and I just started the fourth.

    I’m not seeing the link to your blog…

    • Sorry, when I typed the post I forgot to add the link. I think Beth has done it now.

      And thank you πŸ™‚ I dead the editing process greatly, but I’m hoping I learn to love it.

    • Hi Nelle,

      If you click on the word ‘blog’ at the end of Amber’s post, you’ll be directed to her blog! πŸ™‚

      B

  3. Congratulations on finishing the draft. To answer your question yes I have my first novel going round agents just now. However, in order to ensure I didn’t sit back I am writing my second draft over four weeks. I’m currently on target for aned of April. I think the main tip I have is try and stick to a target each day or know if you skip a day you have the time to make it up. I also take breaks and do other stuff. There is no point staring at a screen for an hour and not writing. If the words are not flowing then leave the room and do something else. I have found that moving rooms helps for reasons unknown to me. I also commute by train and found that environment easy to write in. I have to admit I have written in cafes as well πŸ™‚ Good luck with next stage and I hope it goes well.

    • Thanks, and I’m so happy for you! Whatever works is how I say do it. No writer can write the same way or have the same things work for them. What one can do is to let the tips speak to them and see how they can be altered to fit their own needs. Which I think is what you do. πŸ™‚

  4. If your novel yells at you, please remember to yell back!

    Congrats! Those are good tips. I haven’t tried them all, but then again, I’m not done either πŸ™‚

    • He’s scary to yell back at though. 😦 I need to be more assertive πŸ˜›

      Thank you πŸ™‚ I hope that you can find some that help you.

      • The nice thing about yelling at inanimate objects – if they get scary you can always put them in a box. It’s sort of like threatening your computer or car that you’ll sell it for parts if it doesn’t cooperate, but it is suspiciously successful as a technique.

      • Haha, I have done that quite a bit, it really does make you feel better. When he yells though, it reminds me that I need to work. And then, when I do, I get to stare at him with a smug look and stick my tongue out.

        Of course, after that he tells me I need to work more, but that is the nature of our relationship.

  5. Congratulations, Amber! That is great news, for you, and for the rest of us struggling to finish, too. Great tips, as well. I, too, like to encourage fledgling writers to try their hand at NaNoWriMo. (After successfully completing it a number of years in a row, it was my husband who said, “You know that you can write 50,000 words on deadline. Now, you need to see if you can finish a NOVEL.” It was a wonderful kick in the behind for me!)

    And very good suggestion about the longhand approach, too. I found that that worked for me, as well. My penmanship has deteriorated some over the years since university, but I can still do it…and, you’re right! It absolutely refueled my passion for my story!

    I look forward to reading more of ABSTAINING FROM PERMANENCE!

    • Thank you! I hope Abstaining becomes better and better. I’m glad to know you found the tips useful, and that they don’t only work for me πŸ˜‰

      What a wonderful husband, to give you a kick in the pants like that. πŸ™‚ NaNo is an awesome tool.

  6. Congratulations! What an achievement. You must be very proud, I certainly would be. That is such a large undertaking, so much discipline and skill needed to write a novel!

    Oh, and what a … GREAT idea, changing rooms. It actually makes a lot of sense. I’m moving my work desk the minute I get home. I’m going home early! I’ve been so stumped and completely blocked lately, it’s been almost a month. I was just letting it work itself out. This idea has got me excited, thanks!

    • I’m glad you had a spark of inspiration! Yes, a change or scenery or even your own mood can really impact how you write. I can see, from some rereading of Abstaining, that when I was angry my tone changed. When I was deeply depressed, it changed. And I wrote some (what I think are) hilarious scenes when I was happy.

      I am a little bit proud πŸ™‚ Thank you for your nice words.

  7. Hooray for Amber! Congratulations! You must be quite ready for a celebration — I hope something great!

    • Haha, I didn’t do much celebrating just running around to people who knew I write, “I WROTE THE NOVEL WOOOO!” haha πŸ™‚

      My English teacher was scared when I told him. For a minute, it didn’t register and he thought I was turning that in for our writing assignment! It was quite funny.

  8. Good for you! I still aspire to a completed manuscript. I like your tip #3–think I’ll try it.

  9. I cried when I typed the last line of my novel. Not sure what THAT was all about…relief, release, exhilaration, sad about it being “over” (except for hours of editing), accomplishment, or what – I don’t know.

  10. Two drafts done, and I’m working on the revisions now that I have Limebirdkate’s excellent comments back. Be preparedβ€”the first draft is just thatβ€”the first. There’s a lot more work ahead. But now is the time to feel good and celebrate all the hard work you’ve put into the dream.

    And moving around is a good idea. I’ve read advice that we should edit in a different room than the one in which we write. And I think that’s a good idea. It helps us shift gears from writer to editor.

    Congratulations!

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ And I hope the road ahead is not too terribly tough. Of course I have a lot of anxiety about it but who wouldn’t. πŸ™‚

  11. Congrats! That’s awesome. One of the biggest helps for me was writing the synopsis before I wrote the book. It really helped keep me focused on my central storyline. Also setting a daily word count requirement. Made drafting painful but faster.

  12. Congrats! The first draft can really suck the life out of you, that’s why so many writers give up. I’m sooo happy you pushed through to the end. Each draft is difficult in its own lovely way, but knowing that you have a full ms to work with can be inspiring enough to stick with it at each round. Good luck!

  13. Congratulations! I actually took your change the medium advice over the weekend because my head was stucker than stuck on my darn script and it helped a lot. I have completely changed the perspective of the story from an adult to a child and man oh man it’s going so much better. I’m entirely too far behind now to have even a little hope to finish on time but at least I don’t feel like I’m pounding my head against the pavement just to come up with the next line, and then the next, and the next…

    • That’s great! And it’s ok to not finish, because you started, and you started something great. I’m super happy. πŸ™‚

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