First Jobs and First Drafts

A year and two months ago, my uncle told me not to quit my first job after a year.  He said that, because of the school system, and the way we always moved up at the end of the year, the temptation at the first job is that you call it quits after the same amount of time because you think you’re supposed to “graduate” to something new.

I won’t lie.  I have been tempted, though mostly just because I wanted more hours.  My books need a house, and my friend’s dog just had puppies which is kind of making me want a pet again.  There are places I want to go and paid vacation days, plus a little extra money, sound like the most reliable way to get there.

Well, a full time position opened up in my library system (though not at my library), and I interview for it tomorrow.  It may or may not actually pan out.  But the “may” part is pretty exciting to think about.  I could have benefits!  I could have paid vacation!  I could have my own place and decorate it how I like–

(Excuse me, going to look online for a diner booth…)

I’ve never had a lot of space that’s just mine, but I do miss the independence from my single dorm room and subsequent Florida/London apartments.

Wow, I’m getting carried away.  I haven’t even told you about my original topic for discussion this week…my first draft of my first novel.

I finished it May 31st.  I’m not sharing a lot of details yet unless your friends&family.  …Or follow my Tumblr.  But I’m pretty proud of what I accomplished and actually, for the first time EVER, looking forward to going back and editing it, which I’m going to start July 1st.  But I’m also taking the time to look back and reflect on what I’ve already done.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Having a “signature scent” that you put on ONLY when writing really does help.  I ran out of mine at one point and, no matter how many times I sat down, I never felt like I really got “into it” until I replaced the candle.

2. Still, sometimes its a matter of just putting in time and getting the word count up.  There are several sections of my novel that are written in my best prose, detailed and descriptive, and show the action rather than tell it.  But, as it is a first draft, there are also places where I literally wrote, “And here is where the person does a thing, that will somehow end up with this other thing happening.”  Rewriting is going to be your friend.

3. Don’t write when you feel like it, write when you can.  They say never to tell people you want to be a writer, but I found when I actually told my mom (who I currently live with) that I needed to have writing time (and also made it clear that I was willing to help out, but I needed to do it before writing time or she would have to wait until I was done), I managed to go quite a while without interruptions.

4. Give yourself a daily goal.  As I said, it’s really about putting in time and getting the word count up, but sometimes that blank page is really intimidating and it’s hard to get a good start.  I found if I said, “Okay Kari, you have to write one whole page,” by the time I was done with that one page, I was on a roll so I actually wanted to keep going.

5. Give yourself a deadline and something that will (or will not) happen if you meet said deadline.  Since there are no agents or publishers involved at this stage, it can feel like there are no consequences if you never finish, but the consequence is you never finish.  Who wants that?  So set your own deadline with some sort of reward system.

Hopefully, about this time next year, I’ll be telling you all what I learned writing the second draft.

Come back next week to hear me compare and contrast my favorite female Superheroes!

And while you’re at it, go ahead and vote for July’s Reader-Voted Project.

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