What I learned Writing My First Novel Draft

I’ve completed the first draft of my novel! 78, 131 words. Whew! Although the genre is different from most of my writing these days, it was the first story I began more than three years ago. It wouldn’t go away, so I decided it was time to put it down, once and for all. To stay motivated, I joined a group challenge. I put the period on the last sentence on March the  12th and boy, it felt good! Now, the real work begins.

Here’s what I learned.

  1. Find motivation to get the words down. Whether a critique group, one-on-one writing partner or challenges like the one I participated, or a do-or-die daily writing schedule – sign on. Accountability is a strong motivator to keep going.
  2. Stop your obsessive editing and rewriting! Make notes on the manuscript and keep going. You will have more than enough time to edit later.
  3. Develop a method for keeping up with the details –This is something that screamed with each added chapter. I use Scrivener and love it. It’s an excellent resource for writers and has many tools which help you organize your novel. However, I discovered I need something more. I created excel spreadsheets, (several) to keep up with the details: Character, Settings and Timeline, Threads, and Novel Map (more about those later).
  4. Start planning the next steps – there are quite a few: determining whether you want to use Beta readers, finding the right editor, rewrites, researching your genre, agents, and publishers, writing a synopsis, author bio, cover designs, determining your publishing platform, and outlining a marketing plan. I’m sure I’ve missed a few but more on each of these later.
  5. Enjoy your accomplishment. Many writers never get to the end – you did
  6. Keep writing. Whether it’s on to your next novel, prompts, short fiction, blog post, or article – keep stretching those muscles.

I’ll have more posts in the next few weeks outlining my journey from First Draft to publication. Hopefully, I’ll be able to offer you a few tips, resources, and an inside look at the experience.

If you have any tips or resources you would like to share with the fence jumpers, join the conversation, or better, yet, contact me for the opportunity to be a guest contributor on these topics, for the Cow Pasture Chronicles.

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. I’m all ears and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.


12 thoughts on “What I learned Writing My First Novel Draft

  1. Congrats on finishing your first draft. That is the hardest part of writing a story. I am completing my first draft of ‘For Keeps.’ I am closing in on the end, which has been my favorite part to write.
    I’ll look forward to chatting with you in Sept. And I’ll have brownies….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sheila,
    Conrats on completing the first draft. That is the hardest part of writng, getting your ideas on paper. I am completing my first draft of, For Keeps. I have waited months to get to my favorite part. I’ve known the ending since I began the story. See you in Sept. with brownies-

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations, Sheila! That’s quite an accomplishment. I simply LOVE the feeling that comes with typing “The End” (or however you designate the finish). And then, as you said, the REAL work begins. And once your first “baby” is out in the cold cruel Literary World, you sit back down and stare at that first blank page again, and you type “Chapter 1” and the fun (all that “bleeding” Hemingway mentioned) begins all over! Enjoy the ride! 🙂


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