Recently I’ve been reading several blogs that describe the author’s first experience trying to write a book. Generally the emotions run from “cautiously optimistic” to “why did I ever want to do this.” I’ve been there. It’s not hard to see that if these feelings aren’t universal, they are at least very common.

Once you finally finish the first draft of the very first book, you read it over and the feelings suddenly change. No longer are you cautiously optimistic, now you are downright depressed. Nothing came out quite as good as you thought it would. You used too many adjectives, the pacing is off, characters suddenly appear for no reason, or disappear without so much as a goodbye.

Never fear, there was a reason you wrote that first draft. Even if that first book was a throwaway, it turned out so horribly that you never want to look at it again, there was a reason you decided to set off on this little writing journey. Here is a list of some of the things I learned by writing my throwaway novel.

  • Beginning and completing a book isn’t easy, but it is easier than I had imagined.
  • Editing is infinitely harder than I had imagined. Now I know why people pay others to do it.
  • Characters may be imaginary, but they real attitudes.
  • Ideas that didn’t make the cut can still be recycled.
  • Having cable only adds to your ability to procrastinate.
  • I am not nearly as good a writer as I should be.
  • I am a better writer than I feared I was.
  • After a few months of nonstop talking about your story problems, family members will say anything to get you to stop.
  • Willpower is a superpower.
  • I can do this!