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Sorry to go MIA for a bit, world. Life got busy. Or well, writing got busy. I tend to shut out a lot of things when I’m almost finished with a WIP apparently. So why the exception now?

I finished my rough draft.

It’s not the first time, or even the second draft I’ve ever written of a novel. No, this one is lucky number five. And it still feels as giddiness-inducing as the first. Sure, if I think too much about it, I remember that the hardest part, the revising, is yet to come. But for now, I can kind of bask in my accomplishment. Even if it’s number five, it means so much more to me than the ones before it.

You see, I hadn’t finished a rough draft of a novel in about five years. The last novel I wrote was in 2008. Before that, I was pretty much writing one a year since I finished the first in 2004. And it certainly didn’t take me nearly a year and a half to finish a draft in the past. So what happened?

A lot of things. I finished college. I moved out. I discovered not taking care of your mental health really does not help with writing. I stopped and started dozens of projects. And worst of all, I lost faith in myself.

Every writer goes through feelings of creating words and thinking, “This is crap. This is all crap!” I went through that everyday for close to four years, fighting and often losing to the demon in my head that screamed all my work was nothing. I think, although I never said it aloud, that I gave up on writing, on the dream of seeing my words in print. I didn’t show my work to other people. And I certainly didn’t finish it. I would not write, aside from angsting on paper about my life, for months at a time, I didn’t realize it then, but not telling stories, and not sharing them, was a sign of deep trouble for me. That story, however, is for another post.

I knew when I started this recent WIP that if I didn’t complete it, that was it. I would be done. Number five was my last chance. If I couldn’t finish it, then I would give up writing and find something else to do. And oh, there were times when I wanted to give up so much! I’m not sure how, but I didn’t.

And now I’m here, at the end of a WIP and the beginning of…what I’m not sure. But I have the fire back, the fight I thought I had lost forever in the last five years. Maybe nothing will ever come of lucky number five after I revise it. Maybe it will be tucked away under the bed like the other finished novels. Maybe it won’t. But what it gave me is precious beyond jewels and gold: hope.