At the time I write this now, it’s only been minutes since I wrote the final line to my third draft of the 304,548 word Butterball that I call my novel. I’m still puffed with elation, despite my eyeballs feeling like they’ve been rolled in parking lot gravel.
To say it’s been a long journey feels like an understatement. It feels more like it’s been a war. Ducking fire. Watching soldiers you think you are on your side desert in the thick of battle. And explosions. Don’t forget the explosions.
But war metaphors aside, I wanted to take the time to reflect in written words.
And let me start by saying this…
1. It Made Me Appreciate The Skill Of Having A Game Plan For A Writing Session
There was a huge notable difference in draft writing quality when I wrote a scene with no plan whatsoever, and when I wrote a scene considering what was going to happen.
I’m glad that I found a painless way to plan and still keep my independence as a pantser. I might write a post on that another day, but this is something that I wished that I would’ve done for my first book (it’s tempting to go over it again). I definitely plan to take my scene scans forward with me into the future books that I write.
2. Learning How To Be Present Paid Off Exponentially
It makes scenes stronger, more palpable, and the benefits aren’t even limited to writing. I recall at the beginning of the year that one of my goals was to be a more mindful writer. It’s the seventh month of the year and I can say that I’ve definitely become that.
The difference between me writing normally and me writing mindfully are like night and day. And you can probably tell as much from my lack of Fast Flash Friday posts! D: The mad dash to rush through a draft is stressful and it drives you nuts. I’m glad that it’s over for now.
The other thing about being present is that it pays off in other ways such as how you deal with others, how you cope with stress, and even how you look at the world around you. A healthy mind is a creative mind. And a creative mind writes damn good novels.
3. I’m Now Excited To Comb Through My Freewrites
Throughout the draft, I realized that it’s very easy to slip into a sort of numb limbo where you’re just cranking out the words. Only recently in the final chapters did I start to understand how important it is to constantly expose yourself to new ideas, skills, and sources of inspiration.
So as a way to refresh my mind, I’ve been rolling around the idea of going through every single freewrite document I’ve made up to this point. I’m waiting until number 45 is done which will bring me roughly to a total of 900 pages of ideas.
Knowing that I’ve come this far made me want to take my freewrites more seriously. So I’ve restarted my entire writing exercise regimen to generate more focus ideas and to sharpen my skills.
4. I Better Understand The Importance Of Rest And How To Better Use It Wisely
It’s not enough to work, work, work. And it’s hard to be responsible with breaks.
Rest, I now understand is an important part of growth, but rest is useless if you challenge yourself. And I do love challenging myself.
Now I have to admit, it’s a little weird that I have to teach myself how to rest, but my body just doesn’t understand that it needs time to be inactive. It wants to go, go, go, and crash, crash, crash, and repeat.
But peak performance has always been an area of study that intrigued me and that I wanted to incorporate into my writing life. And I’ve always wondered what would happen if I tried to answer the question:
What if a writer treating writing the way a world-class award-winning athlete treats their sport?
I know I can’t answer this question now, but I’ve got the final draft of this book and the rest of my series to find out.