Done. Keep going.

I just finished my novel! Aaaaaaarrrghhhh! I had to share this. Okay, this will not be the most intelligent blog you ever get from me but….Oh…..My……God, I finished it!

And then I fed my tarantulas (one is called Te Ora, one is called Te Wairua; the life and the spirit. I like to think their names are prophetic because the first one died.) Take it or leave it, there’s your drop of weird for the day.

And then I went back to my writing desk and added up my final word count. I was hoping for a balance somewhere between 90 – 120k, because that would be great for a first time young adult fantasy novel (predictable, I know. So shoot me.)

Worth noting here that this isn’t my first novel, but I’m super excited because it will be the first one that I believe is truly marketable as a first time novel. You can write for the love and passion of doing it, but sometimes you have to put on your thinking cap and get market savvy about what you are passionate about. God-willingly, that is what this one is. The big one.

Anyway. So it’s 134,000 words. Oops. I stopped monitoring around 70k and just went hell for leather, now I have a massive edit task ahead of me. But that’s okay. The full edit is ahead of me (goal for that – end of June 2016 – take note!)

So this baby has been about hard work and focus, my life has also changed so much from when I started it to now, but it’s all good, and it’s all been about focus and preparation and getting priorities right (yay! The kind of things that we all like to throw tantrums about). All in all, my biggest take away from the experience had been the art and value of focus and dedication.

I did go searching for a great quote I heard by Neil Gaiman once about the value of just writing and then focus on the length and value of the content when you get to editing, because the most important thing is to get the story out first. I didn’t find it (I didn’t search very hard, I’m too hyper active), but I did find this little gem which hits home to my other point of focus and dedication;


“You have to write when you’re not inspired. And you have to write the scenes that don’t inspire you. And the weird thing is that six months later, a year later, you’ll look back at them and you can’t remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you just wrote because they had to be written next.” – Neil Gaiman, focused bad-ass novelist.

Word. Like, preach! 🙌 (that emoji tells you I’m clearly writing this on my phone, pacing in the hallway because I’ve been sitting on my ass for the last 12+ hours)

Anyway, so in the later half of this book birthing process, I wrote to a tight schedule, I forced an hour out of every day of my life to make sure that I wrote. It was like potty-training. Or not, because obviously I don’t remember that. But it was great to learn to focus on a new level. I wrote when I was feeling it, and when I really reall reall wasn’t. Even if I start there and glared at my screen for 45 minutes, and forumulated a crappy two sentence paragraph with the remaining 15, I still did it. And it paid off, so so so much. Neil Gaiman is right about when you go back to it too — I had endless days where I would just spew out story onto my keyboard feeling like it wasn’t great writing at all, the kind of days when I would be thinking, “Hey, maybe you ain’t that good at this. Maybe you really should actually give up and live a mundane life.”

But then I would go back a week later and read it, and think that I really needed to lighten up because it wasn’t actually bad writing (well, let’s see about that 😂 it’s not like I have a pitch, agent, or a publisher yet…..and then, God-forbid, and audience that wants to buy it?!)

Okay. I think I’m done. Thank God I logged off social media for the weekend, I had it down to the wire with my goal of finishing the draft by end of February!

Back to normal tomorrow. Sort of.

With love and darkness, J R Manawa.


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