The “Hehe” Stage
Ah. Just beginning your novel. Writing that first paragraph and feeling very giggly that you’re actually giving your novel a go. You’re also a little giggly because you’re not taking it very seriously. You know that this is probably just another one of your lame projects that you’re going to give up as soon as you’ve started.
The “Ooh” Stage
This is the bit where you find that you haven’t given up yet. You’re actually enjoying the whole writing a novel thing. You get up early so you can write before work. You’re having fun and, for some unknown reason, you keep going back to it. You keep thinking, “Ooh, I didn’t think this was going to happen.” “Ooh, I’m still doing this”. “Ooh”.
The Dissertation Stage
The bit where you’e written as many words as you had in your dissertation. It’s not that impressive because your dissertation didn’t have that many words but still. You HAD to write your dissertation. You didn’t HAVE to write this novel. It’s pretty cool.
The “Fuck, I’ve Written Over 20 000 Words Stage”
This is more than your dissertation and your novel is actually beginning to take shape. You know what you want it to be. When people ask you how many words you’ve written, you tell them, and they don’t know what it means. They don’t know what 20 000 words looks like. You don’t either. You just see it on your computer but you have no idea what it looks like in an actual book. You laugh because it’s probably only a chapter.
The “Oh My God I’m Having So Much Fun” Stage
You can’t quite believe that you STILL haven’t given up yet. This is the biggest thing you’ve ever done and you love it and you’re proud of yourself for still doing it. You look forward to writing it. You take notes about what you want to write when you’re away from it. You wake up in the middle of the night knowing EXACTLY what should happen next. You write it down on your phone. It makes no sense in the morning, but it doesn’t matter. You carry on anyway.
The “Shit. Should This Be A Real Thing Stage?”
You’ve written a lot now. It really is turning into an actual novel and you start thinking about getting it published, making it real.
The “LOL What Am I Thinking Stage?”
You start reading bits of your novel and you imagine someone else reading it. You suddenly hate it. Everything you’ve written is stupid, boring, and unoriginal. Everyone has said what you’ve said before. You’re doing nothing new or interesting. You’re never going to get published.
The Forgetting About It Stage
You stop. You don’t write. And you don’t write for a really long time. It bugs you. This unfinished novel is aways in the back of your mind but you can’t get back to it. It’s rubbish and there’s nothing you can do to make it better.
The Going Back To It Stage
You’re bored one day so you open your novel. You skim through it. You have a new perspective because you’ve been away from it for a little while. It’s not as bad as you thought it was. Sometimes you like what you’re saying. Sometimes you think that there hasn’t been a story like yours before. You tentatively start to type.
The Committing Stage
You know now that no matter what, you’re going to finish this novel. You’re marrying it. You’re saying your vows. You know it’s not going to be easy but you don’t want to give up. You keep telling yourself you’ll get drunk when you finish it.
The Rollercoaster Stage
Like all commitments, it isn’t easy. You have your good days. You LOVE writing and it makes you happy. You couldn’t live without it. Your novel’s always open on your laptop. Always there for you to dive back into – which you do, regularly. But then there’s the bad days. Your character is too one-dimensional, the narrative doesn’t make any sense, your grammar is all over the place, there’s only one perspective. Who wants to read a novel that just has one opinion? NO ONE. But still you carry on. You’re in it for the long run.
The Coming To The End Stage
You have as many words in your novel as other novels have. How the fuck did that happen? You know exactly how you want it to end but you’re scared to write it. Because once you write it, you’ll have to read it – and it might be crap. You know there is a lot of rubbish in it. You know that once you finish it, you’re going to have to go back and edit, edit, edit, and edit again and again and again. And that’s only if it’s worth all the edits. It might not be. It’s a well known fact that first novels are often terrible. You might have to scrap it and start again. You’re still going to finish it though.
So as I’ve actually not finished my novel, this is the stage I’m at. Better get back to it, I suppose.