Novel Writing: Still Climbing

Just over two years ago, I decided to attempt to write a novel. I had this sudden thought that this thing that had seemed impossible to me before might actually be a learnable feat.

I started reading tons of books about writing, plotting, and character development. I began reading more novels, studying the structure of movies, and taking notes about effective storytelling. I started writing, talking about writing, showing my work to select persons (i.e. my mom), pushing past the discouragement, pushing through the uninspired days, giving up on flawed attempts and starting again.

And now, two years and two false starts later, I have completed a somewhat cohesive rough draft of a novel. Wow. I should be celebrating, right? I mean, it’s a bit of a mess, but from what I’ve heard, first drafts often are or are even supposed to be.

I thought I would be thrilled. Would throw a party. Would at least post up some kind of effusive burst of emotion bragging about how far I’ve come.

But I don’t feel like celebrating.

I feel like getting to work and making this mess into something good. I feel like reading a bunch more books, arming myself with a slew of new tools and insights, and then working my butt off until I’ve dug to the bottom of this story and mined all the gold.

I guess that’s good, though, right? Because if I were willing to settle for something sloppy and second-rate, that’s exactly what I would get.

It’s strange. I thought this would be the peak of the mountain, everything downhill from here. But I’m still looking up. And the view is thrilling. There are more heights to scale, challenges to overcome, and unknown trails to blaze. There is a lot to learn and a lot to discover.

So it’s time to tighten my shoelaces, gear up, and get going. Let’s keep climbing!



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Elizabeth is a teacher, preacher, musician, and writer. She has a Master's of Divinity and a Master's of Music, which represent her two great loves: Jesus and the arts. A half-Korean, half-white American, she spent seven years in South Korea teaching English. Elizabeth is a perpetual learner, a deep feeler, and a pursuer of beauty and truth.

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