As a writer, one of the biggest milestones you can hit is writing “The End” for the first time. While my novel was written as part of my MA in Creative Writing, it was still just as satisfying to finally note that phrase down, to sit back and feel entirely accomplished. That being said, it isn’t long before the harsh realities of the situation begin to set in. Let me tell you what it feels like if you haven’t been there yourselves.
Finishing Your Novel Does Not Mean It’s Finished
While I consider myself to be a good writer, there is no writer that is beyond the redrafting process. As I was writing the novel, I regularly went back over the various chapters to remind myself of the different narrative strands and to change anything that I felt needed changing. It’s also also a good way to make sure that any minor spelling or grammar mistakes that you missed the first time are eradicated with a proper once over. However, once you come to the end, you realise that redrafting is an extensive process that you will be forced to indulge in for months, if not longer. I don’t expect my novel to be “finished” until the end of next January, and yet I still consider it finished.
Having A Novel Typed Up Is Nowhere Near As Satisfying As A Printed Novel
There’s a lot to love about books, something that any obsessive reader or lover of a library will already know. However, aside from the ideas and words contained within, a lot of that comes from the act of holding the book and taking it in with all your senses. These little pieces of magic are sort of diminished when the words are glaring at you from a bright screen. It’s interesting to note that when all of my friends asked if they could read me novel, they neglected to remember that they’d have to read it off a screen rather than from a page. A lot of people really struggle with this.
Most People Won’t Be Bothered About Your Novel, And Neither Will You
It’s hard to get a novel published. In fact, it is ridiculously hard. Nobody is looking to do you any favours and get your novel out there. This means that the need to go through it as much as possible before you start sending it out to people who should be reading it, people who will likely end up not thinking much of what you’ve sent them. So much is this an accepted fact, that quite a large part of my Masters was taken up by lectures that highlighted the incredibly harsh world of literary agents and publishers. Not only will they not like it, but your enthusiasm for the novel is likely to dwindle after an unsuccessful eighteen months that follow you reading through your own work for months on end in an attempt to impress those who need impressing.
If you’re writing a novel at the moment, please don’t let this list put you off. While there is certainly truth in everything I’ve written here, I would not change the experience of writing and completing my first novel for anything. If you are writing your own book at the moment, why not let me know how it’s going? Write in the comments below if you’ve finished one yourself and whether or not you struggled with these issues as well. Maybe there was something that bothered you more?