I announced it a few weeks ago on Facebook: I've finished the first draft of my book.
It was a great feeling, typing "The End" into my manuscript; a feeling of achievement and satisfaction. Two and a half years ago I began writing this behemoth of a novel; two and a half years of intermittent writing, frustration with mediocre volumes of output, and moments of brilliance and clarity. From a germ of an idea formed in the early morning hours to typing those two words: it has been a long journey.
It's never just been about proving to myself that I can do it though, my ambitions extend beyond that, but completing the first draft has always been a major goal, appearing insurmountable at times, but, deep down, always achievable.
And I've done it. And I'm happy with the result.
My goal is still to have a finished product (fit for submission to agencies) by the Harrogate Festival in late July; a deadline fast approaching. The achievement of completing the first draft is already a distant memory, but as I wade through the second draft, it's still a memory that energises me each day I sit down at my computer.
I'm not naive enough, though, to not know that completing the first draft is only the half of it: draft after draft, alteration after alteration, the dreaded first read by someone other than yourself, and the mountain to climb towards publication, constitutes the hard work ahead of me. Hard work ahead and the continuing rollercoaster ride of emotion that every writer goes through.
Ultimately, there will be a great feeling of satisfaction and jubilation when the final draft is done and sent off to my chosen agents, but it will never match the pure joy and feeling of accomplishment, devoid of the anxiety of failure or critique, that is felt when those two words are written for the first time.
Something to savour for a long time.