I did it. I finished my novel manuscript (insert tears here). It was really, really difficult and really, really fun. And I finished it.
So to give you an idea of how this process went, here are the stages of writing a novel – with the help of Shia LaBeouf gifs, of course.
1. First, you have an idea.
It’s like a light bulb goes off in your brain. You get really excited.
2. So you start writing, and the words are flowing. You’re feeling confident, invincible.
You’re the guy punching the air in the background.
3. Your pace starts to slow down.
You’re a little tired. You’re not quite sure what should happen next.
4. You reread that last thing you wrote and wonder what you were thinking.
It’s bad, really bad.
5. You don’t know what to write next.
Your novel has taken a different turn than you were planning, and you don’t know what to do. Also, how do you make your characters actually interesting?
6. You want to cry.
You just want to cry.
7. You come up with an ending you like, and it kind of works.
Okay, you have a first draft.
8. Then, the editing starts.
You reread the first page and laugh at how young, how innocent you were back then. You also laugh because it’s really bad.
9. More editing.
You rewrite basically every single sentence you had before.
Oh, you thought it was over? How cute.
11. You hate your novel.
You also think you are a terrible writer. And you want to delete everything you’ve written.
12. You decide to work on your positive thinking.
You need a better attitude, ma’am.
13. You find one stellar sentence that you love. It stays.
This sentence gives you a renewed confidence. You can go on.
14. Editing starts to flow better.
You see the problems, you fix the problems. You feel unstoppable.
15. But then this one chapter does, in fact, stop you.
You want to cry some more.
16. You get in the zone.
This consists of staying up till 4 AM every night and sleeping during the day, because you always hit a groove around 2 AM. You also do not do any of your college homework during this time. You are GOING to finish this book.
17. Remember that one sentence you loved? You delete it.
It just doesn’t fit anymore. You also delete a million other sentences you spent hours on a couple weeks ago.
18. You read through your story one more time. You really are almost done.
You find hundreds of other things to change, but you’re getting there. You can feel it.
19. Finally, you finish.
Tears, laughter, tears, cake, chocolate, tears.
20. You watch Ever After: A Cinderella Story with Drew Berrymore at 1 AM to celebrate.
Highly recommended, if you’ve never seen it.
21. You’re not sure if you really are done.
You keep thinking about this one part you’re not sure you changed enough. You go back and fix a couple more things, and then you put your computer away.
This is you telling yourself to calm down. You really are done.
22. You start thinking about querying.
And you actually feel like you have something awesome to send out. This is a good feeling.
23. And then you start brainstorming that other novel you’ve been dying to spend more time on.
And we know where that’s going…