The best part, I’m excited about it all the time.
Problem is, I fear my husband is getting tired of my long-winded dinnertime musings about all the knowledge I’ve gained and all the realizations I’ve had. He’s got incredible patience, but everyone had a breaking point. So, in order to preserve his sanity, I decided to start a new, regular feature on my blog where I can journal about these things and let him finally get a chance to talk about his day over our evening meal. My dear fellow writers, readers, and lovers of all things bookish and word-related, if these musings are interesting, helpful, or at least entertaining (even if that’s only of the schadenfreude variety), even better.
So, here’s my first post: On finishing the first novel and the phenomenon of premature querying.
About a month ago, I finished drafting my fifth novel, and for some reason, I keep thinking back to the day I finished my first. That day was one of the most incredible of my life. I’m not a big crier, but I kind of bawled a little. I just couldn’t believe I actually did it. It took a whole year with some weeks full of daily work, which were followed by weeks of zero productivity. I had no idea how to plot, so I pantsed the whole thing, writing whatever I had in my head, then waiting for the next bit to come to me before I hit it again.
When I finished it, I did what every first-time-novelist does. I thought my book was awesome, and I queried that baby with very little editing.
Cue the regret and red face of chagrin.
But I guess I should be kind to myself about it. Premature querying seems to be a right of passage, a total writer thing. To quote my good friend, Cristina Dos Santos, “Nothing is ever wasted or lost in this journey.”
I remember the swirl of emotions and my decision process like it was yesterday. There were definitely some thoughts like, Who wouldn’t want to read this book? It rocks!
But my predominant thought, What if this was just fluke? This book better get published because I may never be able to do that again.
I know now that I was wrong on both counts; after a few years of revisions, novel #1 became share-worthy, and I learned that I can definitely, without a doubt, do that again. My confidence grew once I understood that it’s not just the idea of being an author that fuels me, it’s that I actually love to write. I love everything about it, even when I hate everything about it. I can’t imagine not doing it.
That first book represents the first milepost for me. I’m in it for the long haul.