I wandered around my house today and collected each of the drafts I printed along the way in the quest to finish my novel. These drafts are dated:
February 29, 2012
October 3, 2012
June 9, 2013
September 19, 2013
This (really high) pile of words acts as a time capsule for the past few years of my life. In July 2010, I sat down for the first time at the Muskoka Novel Marathon and wrote 50 pages of some version of this book. Two months later, I was surprised to learn that those pages had won first prize in the fiction category. So, I kept going. It took me a year and a half to finish the first draft, with a baby born in between. By the time I was done that draft, my littlest son was starting to crawl and my oldest was halfway through his first year at school. By the second, I'd signed with a wonderful agent who believed in the project and encouraged me to keep working. By the third, I was back to teaching full-time. By the last one, my middle boy was in school too and most people in my life recognized that writing was something I did.
About halfway along, I wrote this post about the whole process and my hopes for this book. I never counted the hours as I was writing, but I know there were a lot of them - time alone, time away from my family, time not doing other things. A lot was poured into it. My husband earned thirty-six imaginary gold medals for Best Husband of a Writer, one for each month, and all the days within it, that he shooed me away to write.
I know there are more drafts to come, but for now the novel has gone from being written to being read, if only by a select few. I know finishing a novel shouldn’t be the end goal in itself, but right now it feels pretty good.