• Kamy Wicoff
  • I FINISHED! A Draft. Time for a Modest Celebration.
This blog was featured on 08/30/2016
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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  • Renate Stendhal

    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!!

  • Julie Cordova

    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.

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

  • B. Lynn Goodwin

    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. 


  • Sitarah Pendelton

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

  • 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! 

  • 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.

  • Neelima Vinod

    Congratulations Kamy! What a feeling it is...

  • Crazygirl90

    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! 

  • Amy L Peterson

    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.

  • Thank you so much everybody for the good wishes, and also for sharing your stories of completing that first draft -- and what comes after.  I do feel like sharing my news here has helped me to really appreciate and celebrate the forward progress, which is fortifying for the next step.  On Monday I will print it out (all 400 pages) and start to edit.  Wish me luck, and I will be rooting for all of you as you approach your goals!

  • Romi Grossberg

    Congrats! I look forward to joining your 'wohoo party' very shortly - also a first draft, my first, first draft. Am slightly afraid as everyone tells me that was 'the easy part'.  So soon there will be a 'wohoo', followed by 'oh oh'.

  • Leza Lowitz

    congratulations, so important to celebrate the milestones, and this is definitely one!

  • Lucy Stimmel

    Congratulations, Kamy. It must be a terrific feeling. For a minute there, I thought I was done, too. I decided there is no "done" when I write. One local author said, "Done is when you can't stand it anymore." I think writing must be some kind of psychological test. Regardless, I'm happy for you. 

  • Woo hoo...Congratulations on a milestone worth celebrating. I am writing a children's picture book and am working on draft #2. It's an amazing process, isn't it?  Best of luck with the rest of your journey toward publication. Keep in touch!

  • Lisa Thomson

    That's awesome! Congratulations, Kamy! It's a huge accomplishment even though there's more to do I think that first draft is a real milestone.

  • B. Lynn Goodwin

    WTG! I'm close to finishing a revised and fuller first draft of a YA novel called Talent and yesterday I had an agent who'd offered to critique the first 500 words ask for the first 50 pages...when the ms. is complete. 

    Celebrate every victory. If you can't see your victories, look harder. 


  • Liz Gelb-O\'Connor

    Congratulations! Like you, I'm just about to wrap on the first draft (I'm thinking 3-4 weeks) of my second novel, and I'm already thinking about revisions. But that' no reason not to lift a glass of red (or white) and say 'whoo hoo''. So, whoo hoo to you, Kamy!

  • Congratulations! Savor the accomplishment!

  • Vesper Stamper

    I totally know the feeling...when I finished my first draft in April, I thought it would be a "bang"--but it was definitely more of a "whimper".

  • Jan Moran

    Woo-hoo! Congrats, Kamy! I'm working on the the first edits for my new publisher (SMP), so I know the feeling. Best of luck, and let all of us know when your next book debuts!

  • Deonne Kahler

    Yay, you! It's okay to know that you've got much work ahead - the first draft is such a huge hurdle, I say bust out that champagne anyway and celebrate.

  • Leslie Lang

    Congratulations! Making yourself finish the first draft is half the battle, I think. I just finished the first draft of my first middle grades novel, and I know what you mean about how much fun it is when things happen that you didn't see coming. It's a total kick! I have published nonfiction before, but this is my first novel. It feels so good to have written the complete draft. Now, to sculpt it into shape, right?  Congrats again!

  • Elizabeth Enslin

    Congratulations, Kamy! I know what you mean about all those little peaks and all the work ahead. Still, it's wise to celebrate significant steps forward.

  • Pubslush

    Congratulations !