I remember finishing my very first manuscript and practically collapsing on the couch after making that final keystroke. It was as if I’d just run a marathon. The manuscript took me about six months to write, and came in at a daunting 90K words. Sadly, it was a pile of garbage that pains me to think about. Of course, I didn’t realize how garbage-like it was at the time. I thought it was a masterpiece.
In any case, that first manuscript is now, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, forever locked in a trunk marked “SHAME” (along with a few other manuscripts).
But last week, when I finished my latest manuscript, I realized that that exhaustion, which I really have felt with almost every other manuscript I’ve written, wasn’t there. In fact, I’m a few thousand words into my newest work-in-progress (WIP), and feel confident that I'll finish it by summer.
I’ve decided writing is a muscle. I’ve heard the analogy before, but it never really made sense until recently. It's strengthened with each manuscript. Your endurance increases. Even staring down the first page of a new WIP is easier each time. This last time I just ploughed right into it. Finished the last sentence of one book, and started the first sentence of the next.
I have one more rewrite to do on the book I just completed. I took the plot a different route during the last rewrite and while I’m happy with the story, and the pacing, it’s sufficiently different that I only consider it a rough first draft. I’m taking a few days away from it (and starting in on something new) before I dive in to that rewrite, but I think it’s going to be a pretty quick one.
What about you guys? Have you guys found that each manuscript you write is easier than the one before? Are you less exhausted when you're finished? Or do you have that same struggle each time? Maybe you've found the opposite to be true, and it's actually harder than before because now you know how much effort goes into writing.