Finished First Draft of First Novel!

I gave my novel (with all kinds of problems) an ending by answering the question, “How would I end this story if I changed nothing (so far)?”

And about an hour later, BAM! — First draft!!

I have a finished first draft.

It’s a freaking mess, but it’s a first draft.

It rambles in places, and it has my own notes scattered throughout, and there’s no freaking way I’m letting anyone read it yet . . .


And I just had to share that.

And now, I have a question for anyone reading this: How long do you usually let a first draft of one of your novels sit before you begin editing for the second draft?

A couple weeks? A month?

Or do you pick a day a month or so out and say, “That looks like a good day to start editing”?

Or maybe you take on a new project while the first draft is sitting all cozy in a drawer (or on your hard drive), and you tell yourself, “I’ll start editing my novel’s first draft once I’ve got the first draft of this novel/book written.”

That last one is kinda where I’m sitting. I’ve got a nonfiction book project I’ll be working on for the next few weeks, but I don’t want to get lost in “new idea land,” so I think I’ll set a deadline on my calendar to tell myself to get started on editing TLD.

I’d say it’ll give me something to look forward to, but the idea is really more to motivate me to get rolling on this new project. To not waste time. To write every day and get as much done as possible by that deadline.

And to remind me that finishing that first draft doesn’t mean I’m done with it. I’ll think of it as meeting my inner editor for coffee and maybe a doughnut — and editing a story I haven’t read for weeks.

Or an apple fritter. Apple fritters are good.

Please share what works for you when it comes to taking a break from your work and then beginning the editing process. I look forward to reading your comments! 🙂



8 thoughts on “Finished First Draft of First Novel!

  1. Congrats on finishing. I didn’t let my first draft sit partially because I came up with a ton of new ideas to add. Also it would eat away at me if I let it sit for a few days or longer in the huge mess that it was. I plan on taking a break for a few days sometime after I revise my second draft. I don’t think I could go longer than that. I think its great idea if you are taking a break to work on another project or the sequel if you have one planned.


    1. I’ve been thinking about how the story begins and how I’d like for it to begin, but I think I’d better nail down the structure of the story, first, because, while I thought I had a pretty good idea of what would happen in the story, things changed, and the end result was a lot messier than I expected. I’m having a hard time just letting it go and leaving it alone for now, though I have been looking forward to a break and am already working on the NF book idea. I know what you mean, though, about wanting to act on your ideas when you come up with something you want to change in your story. I don’t know, yet, how long I’ll be able to go without changing something. 😉 Thanks for commenting, and have a great week!! 🙂


  2. I took a couple months before I started thinking very hard about my first draft again, but that was partly because of the holiday bustle partly because I started blogging. (That’s not true, I did sort of work on it but not very hard.)


    1. I don’t think two months is too long. I took a month-long break (December) from what I wrote in November for NaNoWriMo because of how busy December is for us. Then I finished the novel in January, but now I’m looking forward to a break of at least another month. 😉 We’ll see if it turns into two. I don’t want to neglect my blog, either, and I have a family and a part-time job, which is why I think I’d better set a date on the calendar to remind me to start editing. I’m thinking I’ll start during Spring break for the school where I work, in mid-March. Thanks for commenting! Have a great weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wooo congrats! I’m also on the verge of finishing a first draft––it’s a good feeling! As for how long I let a manuscript sit, that’s a good question … it varies. Sometimes I wait a month or two. Sometimes I start almost right away. With my current WIP, I think I’m going to start revisions pretty soon after I finish this first draft. I’ve been working on it for a super long time, so I already have a ton of changes in mind and I want to start working on them! But I think it can also help to take at least a couple weeks before starting revisions so you can look at your manuscript with fresh eyes. 🙂


    1. It IS a good feeling, and I’m happy for you, too!! I’m actually glad for the break, but I can’t help thinking about the story sometimes and wanting to flesh out another “what if” scenario for it. It’ll need a LOT of work, and I’m not 100% confident that I can make it a story that I’d want to publish. One thing at a time, though, right? While I focus on my nonfiction book idea, that should give me at least a month’s break from the novel, and by that time I may be ready to dive in and make all kinds of changes. I hope. Thanks very much for your encouraging and thoughtful comment! 🙂 I hope you let us know, too, when your novel’s first draft is finished. I’m celebrating with a hot toddy. It’d probably be something more festive, if I wasn’t sick, but comfort drinks can be celebratory, too. 😉 Maybe I’ll make brownies this weekend, too (peanut butter fudge).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know the feeling … right now I’m just like, “oh gosh this is horrible, I can never publish this!” But then I have to remember I can’t possibly know what the final draft will be like yet. I have a lot of work to do before I can even think about publishing. 😀 That sounds like a good plan! Maybe after I finish this draft, I’ll do a bit of research that I need to do for a couple other books, haha. And mmm peanut butter fudge brownies sound amazing!


      2. I might actually make those tonight, if I can shake the cobwebs out of my head. 😉 I’ve got a ton of research to do for my nonfiction book idea, but right now . . . I think I might call it a day early. My poor novel — which is a product of a very light outline plus stream-of-consciousness writing — will probably need a major overhaul, but I’m taking a break for now, and celebrating every milestone. I’m still giddy enough over having finished the first draft of my first novel, it’s making the day better. I wanted to finish the first draft before my birthday in mid-February, and I made it! Thanks again for celebrating this with me, and I wish I could send you some brownies when they’re made. I’m just using the same brownie recipe I’ve used for years, but I’m throwing in peanut-butter chocolate chips for extra fudginess and some peanut-butter flavor. They should go great with coffee! 🙂 Have a great night, and thanks for the fun and heart-warming comments!!

        Liked by 1 person

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