I'd said I was going to have the first draft of my novel finished by my birthday near the end of April, but I ended up finishing it on the 7th! It was partly just an accident of timing, and also partly because I found my first-ever notes for the novel, dated April 7th, 2016. There was no way I was going to miss finishing the draft a year to the day after I'd started. It was too perfect. If you believe in messages from the universe, it was totally a message from the universe.
I finished it around 11pm that night. When I started the final chapter I sent an all-caps, expletive-filled message to a group chat with some of my closest friends. They responded with so much excitement and perfectly mood-bolstering gifs that I actually wrote the beginning of the final chapter through a veil of happy tears. I spent twenty minutes agonizing over the last line (my recent, "Just write it, you can fix it in editing" mantra didn't apply to that last line, apparently). I posted the above photo triumphantly on social media, then ... I went to sleep.
I don't know if it was because my day ended so soon after finishing the draft, or if it's just the usual tiredness that comes from finishing a long, personal project, but I feel less like Rocky running up the steps and more like someone who ran a marathon on a dare.
Either way, I am happy that I finished! And I'm also happy at how smoothly the last third of the book happened for me. I'd spent a year with these characters and this world, thinking about it, sometimes dreaming about it. It really did feel, at times, like I wasn't crafting a fictional novel, but just putting words to a story that already existed fully-formed in the ether. It's gotta be sorcery a little bit, don't you think? It's just ridiculous.
Anyway, yay! I've taken a few days off from thinking about novel stuff, but this week I'm going to get the draft printed and get down to some editing. I've never edited a project this large before, so any tips for organization & not losing my mind would be appreciated!