fiction, Novel, Writing

What to do when you’ve finished the first draft

I finished the first draft of my new novel on Saturday morning. Sunday, being Sunday, I don’t work. Today is a Bank Holiday – though you wouldn’t have known it from the crowds in the supermarket when I went to refill my larder this morning.

Then I came home. Had a coffee. And thought ‘Now what do I do?’

It’s not that there’s nothing to do! Dry jeans hang on the airer waiting to be ironed.

Digital Image

There’s a recipe I want to try. ¬†And in my study, there was a long table covered with papers waiting to be sorted and filed or shredded or thrown out. Something I have been studiously avoiding for ages.

Time for self-discipline. Get it done. So I did an hour before lunch, then came back to it a couple of hours ago. And now it’s finished. What a great feeling. A tidy study again! Everything put away where it belongs. I’ve even hidden away the big folder with the draft of the new novel in it.

And now I feel a funny mix of bereft and on holiday! More self-discipline required because I WILL NOT look at the novel till it’s ‘cooled’ – till there’s a sufficient measure of distance for me to see it with a little objectivity. Only then will I be able to revise and rewrite and do it justice.

I’m aiming to do this in the next six weeks or so – before I head off for Scotland on my book promotion tour for When the Boats Come Home. While I’m away, I’m hoping to have two or three readers go through it and critique it for me so I can dive back in for a final revise or two before delivery to the publisher by my deadline of end-August.

Meanwhile, there are few hours left of the Bank Holiday, some ginger cake calling from the fridge to go with afternoon tea – and maybe a little permissible relaxation!