Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Done It!

I've just typed the last word in my NaNo novel and printed out the last couple of chapters. Sitting to my right on my desk is the (very) rough draft of my first ever novel  -  all 75,652 words of it! I have a beginning, a middle and an end - so that's a good sign! I am elated but sooooo tired! Now, after a few week's break, the hard work will start when I read through it for the first time and try and edit it into something that doesn't feel like a huge jumbled ball of elastic bands in my head!

I can't believe I actually battled on to the end and finished it - I've proved to myself that I have the stamina to see the first draft of a novel through from the beginning to the end. I didn't think I had it in me when I started the first sentence way back on Nov 1st 2009  -  I don't think my family and friends did either to be honest! None of them know that I managed it yet, as my husband and daughter have gone to bed and if I phone my dad, sister and aunt now, I'm liable to get lynched! So I will tell them in the morning.

It hasn't been easy, and I'm sure, as my fellow NaNo-ers will attest, it's not for the feint hearted! But it proves it can be done if you get your head down and write the thing. I can't believe I wrote just over 50,000 of those words in just thirty days because it took me a further four and a half months to write the last 20,000 odd! But, hey ho, the bare bones are done and I'll let you know if I think it's got potential when I've read it through! I haven't read any of it yet as I didn't want to as I was afraid if I saw all the mistakes and bad writing before I finished it, I would get bogged down in detail and never get round to completing it.

I know I have a lot of work to do on it still and that it might never be good enough to try and get published - but I'm glad I've done a complete first draft and I've enjoyed the writing journey. I now feel better able to complete the short stories I want to submit to the women's magazines. So that's what I'll be doing for a few weeks until I can bear to read the novel!

Happy writing, and if you're thinking about writing a novel or are writing a novel but are stuck - just do it and take heart - it can be done -  but only if you make a start and  if you write regularly. You don't have to have a mad go at it like I did for NaNo. It doesn't matter how long you take to write it juat as long as you do, The novel will do nothing for you if you keep it in your head. Get it down on paper or on screen!

Happy writing!

Julie xx


klahanie said...

Hi Julie,
Well done. Your determination and resilience is to be much admired.
I know you are tired. Yet, I'm sure it is a good kind of tired.
Happy writing. With respect, Gary x

Julie P said...

Thanks, Gary.

It most certainly is a nice kind of tired. It's like I've cast off this huge weight from my shoulders.

I hope other writers out there who are struggling to finish writing their novels will do so soon. Even though you never think you're going to to it - you can and will!

Mind you. if I didn't have such a good family and friend network - including my blogging buddies and writing group - I don't think I would have done it. So thank you.

Take care

Julie xx

Carole Anne Carr said...

A very BIG WELL DONE!! Such an achievement, Julie, and every word we write is one step nearer to perfection.


Diane Perry said...

You are a real inspiration Julie, and with something as big as a novel, you have proved with hard work, it is possible. Well done you!!
I feel ashamed at how long I messed around with my novel, If ever I write another I will take an example from you.

Julie P said...

Thank you Carole!

I've learned a lot by writing it and I'm so pleased I perseverered with it until the end.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Di

I still have a lot of messing around to do with the novel - I have no idea how long that will take, or even if I can actually do anything with it. But I think I have to try.

You know what it's like to work on your novel and you've sent it out there! Plus you were working full-time. That's wonderful.

I was just lucky it was the right time for me to do NaNo. But I didn't touch it after I did the 50,000 words for NaNo in Nov '09, until this Easter hols.

Take heart - I laughed when you said, '"If I write another one."' Because Wes Magee, the writer I saw with Isobel at the Wenlock poetry festival was asked how many books he'd written, and he said over 100!!! We have some writing to do, Di!! Now he's a true inspiration!

Julie xx

Simon Whaley said...


Actually finishing the first draft of a novel is a HUGE success - so many people do not achieve this. Now you know you are capable of producing a story of this length. And even better, you now have something to edit. That's when the real writing begins.

Put it aside - leave it for a couple of months if you can, then when you come back to it, just sit down and read it. Don't edit it. Try reading it as a reader would. You'll probably surprise yourself at how much you enjoy it!

Well done!

Bethany Mason said...

Congratulations - I'm planning on continuing with my novel over the summer as I have a lot of assignments that I really should write first. p.s. I love the fact that your NaNoMeter says you're 108% completed.

Julie P said...

Thanks, Simon!

I do intend to leave the novel for a couple of months as I want to concentrate on some short stories to see if I can some of those published too.

I think it will also give my brain time to sloosh the novel around in my head so that when I do come to read it through I might have some ideas on how to improve it (I hope!)

I'm also reading books in the same genre as mine is so I can pick up on the style and see what works and what doesn't and try and work to a similar standard if I can.

See you on Saturday if you're going!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Go for it, Bethany! You'll be so glad that you did. I know I am. Mind you, I have some assignments I should be getting on with too for the journalism course (oops!)

I've found my head is much clearer now I've got the first draft down and I can forget about it for a while to get some short stories finished and subbed.

I know - I giggled when I saw I'd gone 8% over target!

Best of luck with your assignments and novel.

Julie xx

Sue Ross said...

Blimey Julie, what a brilliant thing to have done.
You are determined and tenacious and I applaud you.
Well done!

Julie P said...

Thanks, Sue.

Hopefully see you tomorrow/

Julie xx

Olivia Ryan said...

Well done, Julie. I can echo what you say - a novel is a real test of endurance. Sometimes round about the middle you think there's no way you're ever going to finish - and finishing is a terrific achievement, whatever comes next. Good luck and if you keep on working the way you are, you will succeed, I'm sure of it. x