I did it--I finished the first draft! Again! This ain't my first rodeo, but it sorta feels like it every time. Once, about ten years ago, I wrote a whole novel. That surprised me because I don't think I believed it would ever happen. (This isn't counting the two I wrote before that, because they're really novellas, or maybe long short stories and…well, not very good at all.)
I'm not sure how long it took to finish that project, but it was years. After that I queried it for five years. I only sent out 2 queries in 2002, the first year, and 15 queries in 2003, but stepped it up after that, until I sent out 95 in 2007. I had a request for a full in 2004 and two more in 2007, but eventually it became clear that this was not getting me anywhere.
While flogging this horse, over and over and over, I became frustrated enough to return to my first love, short stories, and sold one in 2005. Then another, then another.
But that novel was like an itch I just couldn't scratch. I wrote the sequel to the flogged horse, and queried it. Finishing another novel was just as big a surprise as finishing the first one. Started querying it in 2008. Then I got bored. Wrote a completely new project--wow I wrote another novel! Queried it until 2011.
By this time, finishing a first draft should not have surprised me, but I just finished the first draft of the third Imogene Duckworthy book. It's terrible (it's a first draft), but it's there!
All of this is to point out how surprising it is to be able to write a whole book, even if it's just the first draft. And I know the first draft is a baby step--there's a long ways to go after this. But I can't go there until the dreaded FD is done, and it is!
Only other writers know what a celebration this calls for. And now, excuse me, I have celebrating to do. Then pages to edit.
Here are some thoughts I found on first drafts:
This one is on what it feels like to finish that first draft
This post lets you know what you're in for if you've not gotten beyond that first draft stage yet
And how hard is it to finish that first draft?
Finally, some concrete tips on what to do with that first draft, if you're at sea at that point
Happy first drafts to everyone who isn't there yet! Whether it's your first project or your tenth.