Last Friday I finished the first draft of book three in the Screwing Up Time series. Yay! It was the fastest I’ve ever written a first draft. It took three and one half months and the holidays were in there too. I’m amazingly thankful.
But if you’ve never written a book before, you should know that writing “The End” is nothing like you see in the movies. In movies, the writer types “The End,” grabs the paper out of the typewriter, tosses it on a stack of papers, and smiles triumphantly. That cues the-worst-is-now-over-the-writer-will-conquer-the-world music. Very romantic. Very not true.
Here’s how it goes for me (and most writers I know). I type “The End.” Then, the first thought that goes through my mind, “Maybe I just wrote ‘The End’ because the ending is so bad that the reader would never know it’s the end unless I told them.”
The next three to five minutes is spent wondering how much the book sucks. A little, a lot, or toss it into the fire? However, having written other novels, I know this is post-first-draft-creative-exhaustion syndrome. The cure is to ignore self-doubt by chanting, “A first draft is a celebration of everything that can go wrong on a page.”