I FINISHED! A draft. Time for a modest celebration.

While writing my first novel has been an adventure extraordinaire (who knew that characters would sometimes appear to be writing their own stories, while this author was left to catch up), there came a moment last week when I was glad this wasn't my first rodeo.  I wrote the last sentence of my book.  The sentence I always knew would be the last sentence.  The sentence I had known was going to be the last sentence almost since I started writing it a year and a half ago.  And then there it was.  Written.  On the page!  WOO HOO!

Or maybe more like woo hoo, in little letters.  

Because this time around, I know better.  When I reached a similar milestone in writing my first book, there was a celebration.  I felt giddy.  I was ecstatic.  I was ready for my life to change.  I believe there was champagne.  

Then I realized that that "ending" was only the first of many, many, many more moments of "I'm finished!" to come.  Excepting even the obvious fact that the last sentence I wrote last week was of a draft, which means there are many months of revisions ahead, I also know, from experience, that writing a book is like climbing a mountain, and finishing the first draft is only summiting its first peak.  The production of a book, for one, is a long and detailed process -- there are decisions to be made about title, about cover, there are copy edits and proofreads, there are galleys to review.  But first I have to edit the you-know-what out of it, and it's about a hundred pages too long.  It could take awhile.

All that being said, however, it still feels pretty damn good.  I don't really have a prompt this time -- no big question for you all.  Really, I just wanted to share it.  To have somewhere to post a little woo hoo.  So there it is.  

Now I have to get back to work.

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Comment by Renate Stendhal on July 11, 2013 at 4:25pm

FABULOUS, Kamy! A big goal met, and I think we all have a sense of how many sacrifices it took to decide and dare to focus on your own writing and stay away from your other She Writes passions. I love how you call it "summiting its first peak"! The great reward of this first summit is that now you have a solid "there there" -- and therefore new permission to PLAY when you begin looking at the next round. A rose is a rose... 4 times, and each rose is different!

Chapeau, brava, many warm wishes!!

Comment by Julie Cordova on July 11, 2013 at 2:23pm

Congratulations. I am hoping to do my own woo-hoo soon(within a month, maybe) for the second draft of my novel. Thanks for sharing your high, it's inspiring.

Comment by Kamy Wicoff on July 10, 2013 at 11:32am

Thanks again so much for all this encouragement and advice.  I really couldn't do it without you. :)

Comment by B. Lynn Goodwin on July 6, 2013 at 10:41pm

I "finished" a sandpaper rough draft of my revised YA yesterday. I know there's much more to do, but at least I'm working with metaphoric clay instead of air. 

www.writeradvice.com

Comment by Sitarah Pendelton on July 5, 2013 at 6:02pm

Another wonderful accomplishment from a woman who knows how to get what she wants in life. You're an inspiration! xo

Comment by Bella Mahaya Carter on July 5, 2013 at 11:20am

Congratulations, Kamy! No need to make your celebration modest. Yes, there's a lot more work to do, but you've reached an important milestone. I believe in celebrating every step of the way, acknowledging ourselves for small as well as large accomplshments. And this rates pretty high on the accomplishment scale. —Great that you could do your version of shouting from the rooftops by posting here. Maybe that's all you need, but you've got an opportunity to do something deeply nourishing and self-honoring. You deserve this. The process of thinking about, creating, and then following through with these kinds of celebrations offers rich rewards. Ask, “How can I create a meaningful celebration?” “What would make me feel celebrated?” Savor this moment before rushing ahead to the next. This too is part of your “work” and will fuel your creative fire! 

Comment by Gwendolyn Rhodes on July 5, 2013 at 11:04am

so happy for you ! Good luck in the editing process . I really would like to be where you are now. I have found that I continue to edit as I write and it slows me down. It has been suggested just to write it out...edit later...but my perfectionist self says no...I must sit down and continuing writing again...finding the time seems like an excuse and I just feel stymied...I am sure it will pass. Every now and then I sit and a few pages happen...maybe that is just the way with the busy life I lead my writing never seems to get to the top of my priority list.

Comment by Neelima Vinod on July 5, 2013 at 9:48am

Congratulations Kamy! What a feeling it is...

Comment by Crazygirl90 on July 5, 2013 at 9:20am

Do you reccomond any good publishing company's that are willing to meet with potential writers and see what they got? That would be awesome for some adveice! thank you! 

Comment by Amy L Peterson on July 4, 2013 at 10:17am

Congratulations to Kamy on step one of the writing process!  I'm still amazed how long "writing" takes and the number of interruptions we have to endure (like my 15-year-old dog needing to be let out 20 times a day, and my husband telling me it's my turn to clean the hamster cages). It's amazing we get anything done, let alone entire books.

And of course finishing writing a book is only step one of a process called writing that involves so much more than just writing. 

Step two is editing. For my new book, Something Furry Underfoot, I hired a professional editor, then printed out final drafts at the Michigan State University book printing machine for a half dozen friends to review, each of whom found little things needing editing and one of whom thought the guinea pig on my book cover looked like a hamster. While friends were editing Something Furry Underfoot and my graphic artist was tweaking the cover a bit, I hired someone else to format four kids photo e-books I created, each of which rhyme and feature pets in Something Furry Underfoot. Meanwhile, my web page guru was updating my web page at amylpeterson.com to reflect all five of my books. When Something Furry Underfoot was error-free (I hope!) and the cover cute as can be, it was onto the formatting process for an e-book and as a paperback. Just yesterday CreateSpace folks sent me a proof of Something Furry Underfoot to review, so I fiiinally feel I'm getting near the end point of the process that was once just writin, but really also involves editing, formatting to meet various readers' needs, updating web pages and preparing for marketing.

The last step, marketing, is the under-rated part of writing, and the part that for me, will take the rest of the summer and into fall.  I'm finalizing an author spotlight and an author interview, lining up more of the same, and will soon start posting photos on Pinterest of critters in my book and things you might want to know before you buy such a pet. Indeed, "writing" is a pretty amazing process, and each milestone does need to be celebrated.

Something Furry Underfoot is my humorous, touching memoir about raising a whole bunch of pets my husband kept bringing into the house, including frogs, iguanas, hedgehogs, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, mice, guinea pigs, a dog,  and, well, okay, I let the stray kitten into the house, and then a rescue rabbit, and then this domestic duck. I knew nothing about any of these critters and soon helped care for them and fell for most of them.  Something Furry Underfoot includes 50 tips, including Tip #28:  It is important (although not easy) to know a boy gerbil from a girl gerbil. And Tip #44:  Saying good-bye isn’t easy, even to the face of a duck. Some proceeds from each of my animal books will benefit animal rescue organizations.

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