The First Hurdle

I have just finished writing the first draft of my first-ever completed book. It happened this morning and although this is super exciting, I am keeping my feet on the ground and know this is only the first hurdle.

Since writing is part of the way I earn a living, I know that the satisfaction of finishing a first draft never lasts longs. Because as soon as you, or someone else reads it, the structural flaws and missing facts and holes in the story are immediately as clear as day, right before your eyes.

"I'm not sure what you're trying to say," someone will say to you -- only the worst words that a writer of any sort can hear.

But that's the trick, the challenge and the goal. To figure out what you want to say, but then how to say it. It's just not easy, my friends. It is definitely not easy.

I will let my precious draft rest for a week or so, first to enjoy this feeling for a while, and second to give me a little distance after writing that last sentence.

And then the real work will begin.

My goal is to get the second draft finished by Christmas. The plan is to do a first edit myself and hire a professional editor for the structural edit. I spoke to the Hub about it and he said -- and I couldn't agree more -- that I couldn't trust anyone I know to tell me what they really think: himself included. I've been reading lots about publishing and self-publishing and this jibes with the advice out there as well from published authors.

It's funny that it's the beginning of November, and this whole book project really got off the ground two Novembers ago when I participated in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. I never finished that novel, but I got stuck in (writing about 30,000 words) and it helped me to focus on what I really wanted to write: a memoir of my first year or so living in London.

So there are two things I'd like to say to any inspiring writers out there:

First, writing a first draft it's not an easy process, but it is doable. There were so many moments where I questioned what I was doing and felt that everything I was writing was crap, but I just keep my butt in the chair day after day, pushing through -- a good cup of coffee helped too.

And second, if you think that you would like to write a book someday, but are no where near ready, I think blogging really helped me to ramp up to where I am now. It took five years, but hey, that's not that long in the scheme of things. And I've clearly enjoyed the journey!

Photo credit: IMG_0006.JPG via photopin (license)


  1. Congratulations! I would say to let your book rest for more than a week. It needs a good vacation! Best, Rose

    1. Maybe you are right. It will also give me time to finally sort through and label my Egypt photos and finish another album I'm working on!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Congratulations! Oh, and a good friend of mine Jane Dean is an editor and has some good tips here. . She actually specialised in this genre, being an expat herself.
    Good luck with the editing!

    1. Thank you, that's very helpful at this stage! Especially since she specializes in this genre!


Back to Top