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I Finished My First Draft - Now What?

Finishing a novel is a BIG DEAL! A HUGE deal, in fact! But a lot of authors face this landmark moment with trepidation, unsure of what comes after it. That's very fair, given the actual drafting process it pretty straightforward - butt in chair, hands on keyboard - and the aftermath is a smoky, messy abyss of "Now What?"

If you've ever wondered what to do once you type THE END, here's a snapshot of MY process - hopefully it inspires you! 🥳 CELEBRATE. You finished a novel, my dude! Don't let that achievement be undersold! Whether it's a nice dinner, a new read, a piece of cake, whatever, do SOMETHING to celebrate this momentous occasion! This is something to establish early and often, otherwise you may find it harder to truly capture the enormity of your achievement in the future (pointing to MYSELF here!). ⏰ TAKE A BREAK. You've earned it! And only you can decide how long it should be! Some writers need a day or less; others might need weeks or even months away from their draft. Honor YOUR process by taking however long a rest YOU need. 📝 DO SOME EDITS. When you're ready, dive back in! Read that precious draft from start to finish for the first time. Keep an eye out for typos, grammar, and punctuation issues; also note the places you may want to tighten up the plot, fix holes, etc. You can make those changes immediately or later, but primarily just take this time now to appreciate your draft in its bookishness! 🤝 TEAM UP. Find some critique partner(s) to work with, and/or hire a developmental editor to give feedback on your draft! This is a fantastic step to help you start really digging in and figuring out what to fix and how to make this draft into a book you'll one day share with the world! What do YOU do/plan to do after you finish a draft? Let me know in the comments! 👇👇

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