Thursday, May 17, 2012

Crossing the Finish Line

I have a confession.

I've been writing since third grade.  I've dabbled with poetry, short stories and novel length fiction.  I even have the beginnings of a non-fiction book that I like to pull out and dust off from time to time.  The last I counted, I had eighteen different manuscripts at various stages of production, ranging from the work I wrote while I was in high school all the way till the present.

Eighteen.  And that's just the ones I can find and count.  I'm pretty sure there's others buried in boxes or zip drives and forgotten....

My confession?  I've never finished one of them.  I have never completed a first draft. 

Last November I persevered through NaNo, bringing one of my WIP's to the 50,000 mark.  And that was the first time I've written past 40k.  I was naturally excited, but once again, did not finish.

I don't know why I do it.  It's not standard behavior for me to begin a project and toss it aside half done.

With some of the books I lost interest.  Some of the books I got stuck.  Some of the books I got busy, and then lost the flow of creativity and desire, and the ambition to jump back in.

Until now.  On Friday, January 6, 2012, I sat down with the computer after the tucking the kids into bed, and wrote out a chapter of a story that had been floating around in my head for a couple of days.  I took it to critique group the next day, got some great feedback and advice, and dove in feet first without looking back.  Sometimes it took a lot of willpower, but I held myself to a steady goal of adding to my word count every night. (It helped that my husband had three night classes and was never home in the evening).  Some weeks the words just flowed.  Some weeks I stagnated in self-doubt and uncertainty.  (When you're climbing a high building, it's good advice to not look down.  When' you're writing a first draft, it's a good idea to not look back.)

This past Saturday, I passed the 85,000 mark.  And I can't be totally certain, but I think I'm on the last chapter.

I can hardly contain my excitement.  This is what it feels like?  It reminds me somewhat of labor.  You get to the other side and think, well gee - that wasn't so bad!

The race is not over yet.  Now the real work begins.

Here's to crossing the finish line.


  1. Serious accomplishment. Congratulations! For me, editing is usually fun and generally easier than the first draft.

  2. I can't wait to read it!!! Congratulations on getting so far.

  3. Congrats! I look foward to reading your book in the future, on Amazon? :0) Pat yourself on the back, that is quite the accomplishment!

  4. Congratulations!! Everything is worth finishing. And the sense of accomplishment afterwards... ahhh! You will be able to say that you wrote a book. How many people can say they persevered and actually did that?

    Awesome my friend!

  5. Mandi. This is the most awesome post I have read. Great news. It sums up my writing journey except I have not finished a novel. Don't tell anyone they might judge me for calling myself a writer.



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