I Finished My Draft. What Now?
What now indeed. I just finished the second draft of my current WIP (work in progress) and I feel great. I also already feel a bit lost, and I only finished it like 3 hours ago. Honestly. Finishing a draft is always a great relief, no matter if it’s the first or the tenth, but there’s always the question of next steps. Where do I go from here? The answer, really, is anywhere you like, but if you want a bit more direction, I’ll walk you through what I plan on doing next with mine.
First and foremost, it’s always important to rest, to give yourself a break from your world and your characters. The first step is a step back. You need to distance yourself from your work so that when you go back, you can look at it with fresh eyes. I usually give myself at least a week between drafts, longer if I just finished draft one. I really want to jump back into it right now, but I know my story will be better off after a break. This week off is going to kill me. I won’t know what to do with myself.
Which brings me to my next point: work on something else for a bit. This can be writing related or not, just something to distract yourself so you’re not tempted to dive in too soon. I will be spending my week reading, which is long overdue (Remember my post a couple weeks back where I said I was going to read a chapter a day? Yeah. I haven’t done that) So I need to get back into reading for sure and build up a routine with that before I start writing again. I’ll also be painting and cleaning my room this week, doing homework, and writing a couple more blog posts. I already have an idea for next week. Look at me being all proactive.
Even with the break, I’m already planning ahead. My next draft is going to be fixing some things I noted in my last draft that I didn’t have time or energy to focus on then. I left myself notes in bold to come back to, so I’ll read through those in Draft 3 and fix them. I also had an epiphany about 95% of the way through Draft 2 about a plot point that would totally enrich my story. So I have to decide whether or not I’ll incorporate that into Draft 3. I probably will. It’s going to be a fair amount of work, but the best writing is never really easy.
I’m looking ahead even further as I start to think about getting a Critique Partner and anticipating Beta Readers. I’m honestly so excited about the future of this novel and that’s so important. Celebrate every draft, every victory. Look at how much you’ve accomplished. Each draft of your novel is a new and better story. Each draft is closer to publication, closer to the world reading your words. Writing a novel is not easy, so remember to give yourself a pat on the back every once in a while. Take that well deserved break when you finish your draft, rest your brain, and then come back when you’re ready and make it even better the next time around.
I’m going to go write another post now to keep my hands away from my novel. Hope you’re having a great week and as always, keep writing. Except if you’re on a break. I see you. Step away from the keyboard....