So I've been working on this novel for about a year now...okay, 10 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days...but who's counting? I've had my ups and downs along the way, but now I'm in the final chapter of the first draft. I'm going to finish very soon. It's weird knowing I'm a few short hours from the end. Okay...not the end, just the first draft...but finishing the draft will be a major milestone.
Here's the thing. I don't think I like what I've written. When I finished the draft of my first novel, I knew it was rough, but I believed I had written a good story. I don't feel that way now. I don't know if I'm just sick of this book, or if the story really isn't good. I suspect I have a cohesion problem. The novel I started writing isn't the one I'm finishing. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there will be major rewrites and edits.
When I finish this last chapter, I'm going to walk away from the whole thing for a while. In his book, On Writing, Stephen King says he lets a draft sit for at least three weeks before going back to edit and revise, so he can look at it with fresh eyes. I need fresh eyes.
I've allowed my querying efforts on the first book to languish because I've been so focused on this one. I've also had another idea pinging around in my head for a while. I haven't let myself put words to it yet because I'm afraid I'll lose my momentum so close to the end. Momentum has been hard to come by on the thing (11 months=painful).
Struggle and Failure may be unpleasant companions, but they are tremendous teachers. I am a better writer now than I was a year ago. And that, my friends, makes the whole process worthwhile...even if I have to rewrite the entire book.