Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dimmed Excitement

Last night I rolled over 10K in my latest book. Yay.

Reading one of my many daily blogs this morning, I saw an announcement from someone who just finished the first draft of her second book. She was so excited, and I was so happy for her. But her announcement got me to thinking...

I don't get excited about finishing a first draft any more. Not like she was excited anyway. One quick blog post, an announcement to friends and family, and maybe a hoorah out loud. That's it. After I finished Spectacle, I wanted to break out the champagne and run around the house squealing like a little girl. (I didn't do the champagne, but there was squealing aplenty.) With each subsequent novel, the excitement has dimmed.

You see, I've completed 6 first drafts. It's not a huge number by any stretch of the imagination, but the fireworks have worn off. Been there, done that. By now I know how much work is still left to do, and how far I have to go to get the manuscript in shape for it to be read by anyone else. I also know how hard it when I get excited about the first draft, and then slog through the months of work only to have the book sit in a folder where no one else can read it, but that's another story.

Still, completing a first draft is an accomplishment. It's something I should get excited about. But I guess it's like anything else you accomplish - the first few times, it's a rush and you get all jazzed about it. After a while, though, it's less thrilling. I wish I could find a good analogy this morning but my internal analogy generator seems to be on the fritz this morning. Maybe think of it like learning to drive. When you first get behind the wheel, it's a big event, but after a while, it's just something you do to get where you're going.

Let's just say, I'm waiting to get excited about arriving at my destination. When I get an agent... then when I get a publishing contract... then when I see my work on the shelves of a bookstore... Maybe getting an award of some kind would be a new level of excitement.

Don't get me wrong. I still get a rush from the actual writing. Finding a new story and telling it, getting to know the characters, making sure every piece of the puzzle is in place and I'm not falling down on the job anywhere. Now, that's a rush. I still get a rush from completing the final draft - albeit not as huge as the first couple times.

The first draft stage? Not so much.

I guess it's similar to the way my family treats the announcement that I've finished another one. "That's nice, honey. How many does that make?" and "Cool, Mom. What's for dinner?" and "Another one? Good job. Have you heard anything back on the last one?" are pretty much where I'm at on the excite-o-meter.

Truth be told, I'm jealous of that first draft excitement in others. I miss it. I want to feel like a tickertape parade should be marching down my street announcing the news. I want balloons and sparklers and champagne and cheesecake. *sigh*

If you've finished more than a couple manuscripts, do you still get excited? If so, how do you manage to keep the excitement? Should this even be bothering me this morning?



Sara Thacker said...

I'm not at the point where I get excited about finishing a first draft. Okay, I finished editing the X to the Nth degree draft of a book the other day and will probably get the galleys in a few weeks. By the time I'm down to galleys I just want it all to go away. So I guess I'm more excited about finishing the first draft than I am about finishing the edits before the galley comes down the pipe.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I'm on my seventh first draft (none published). I allow myself a 'hurrah' and a glass of wine, then get on with writing again.

JenWriter said...

I think that makes sense. Stephen King probably wasn't as excited for his 20th book on the NYT Bestseller List as he was with his first or second. Still a great feeling, but there's nothing like the excitement of accomplishing something for the first time.

You'll be on a whirlwind of emotions and excitement when you snag an agent. And the first sale. And the first book release day. Something to look forward to. :)

Travis Erwin said...

NO I don't get all that excited by a finished rough draft though it does give me a sense of accomplishment. I'm more excited in the beginning stage and when I see an email from an agent I queried.

Kristen Painter said...

I'm always happy when I finish a draft, although I haven't done much of that lately because I've been working on proposals so after the first 100 pages or so, the book is effectively "done" unless it gets sold.

Still, there is a sense of accomplishment when one is completed and turned into my agent.

Sean Ashby said...

I've only finished one first draft so far, which seemed to take forever, so I was definitely happy about wrapping that one up. My second is going much quicker (it's shorter), but I think I'm going to be just as ecstatic when I finish it, too. I hope it never gets old, really!