Yesterday evening, I finished the first draft of that novel I've been going on about for ages. Of course, overall it's far from finished; I haven't even begun the first round of revisions - I'm having a few days off and then I'm planning to start that on Thursday, since I have exams Monday and Wednesday.
But this is a huge milestone for me. I've started working on quite a few stories over the years. One of them - you know the one: the one you write when you're a kid and cringe whenever you reread - I got to about two thirds of the way through. And I've done one or two short stories; one of them is here. But I've never finished a gull-length novel before.
I now have a story. The writing, and maybe a few plot points, will need a lot of revision and polishing, but an uncut diamond is still a diamond, and my story is finished. It exists, in detail and outside of my head.
So I'm pleased as punch and proud as Lucifer, right now. And also enjoying the release from my daily k rule. I like being able to go on Twitter in the mornings, and I played Minecraft this afternoon for the first time in months.
But I'm also aware that I have a lot to do, and from here on I'm in unfamiliar waters. Not entirely uncharted, but many of the charts are quite vague and some contradict each other. I know how to write a story; I've been doing it since I was a kid. But I have to make it good now, and publish it - I'm pretty certain that I'm going to self-publish, for all the reasons everyone else is self-publishing these days - and market it. I don't know how to do that.
I read today that I should start marketing now, or at least very soon. I don't have anything approaching a marketing plan. I don't even have a title, and I don't think I can do that much without one.
I know I need to get it professionally edited. Before that I will have to turn my first draft, which is very first-drafty in places, into a first decent version, and what I've read recently seems to suggest that I should get it beta-read and do more revisions and get it to a state that seems finished to me first and turning it over to an editor should be the last thing I do.
It will need a cover, of course. I know someone who started a design business with a publishing branch, and while I intend to self-publish, I'm hoping he'll be able to give me a good deal on a cover design. And there are plenty of design companies out there if that doesn't work out.
I suppose that when I have all the essentials of a book I will go through Createspace or a similar self-publishing service. I hope it will be easy and obvious how to do that.
And then, in theory, I'll have a book. I will have to sell it. On Amazon, for starters, but whether, and how, I will get it on any other shelves I have no idea.
All in all, daunting is a bit of an understatement. But it will be a learning curve, and with a bit of luck I won't mess it up too badly.