If there is one thing I've learned since I sat down to write a novel, it's the need for patience.
(Notice I said "the need for" and not that I learned patience. Still working on that.)
As I sit here and look at the date on my computer, I can't believe I started this novel a year ago. A freaking year?! Are you kidding me?! No wonder it takes even professional authors so damn long to put out a new book. Here I am toiling through it as a fourth priority (behind family, first job that pays the bills, and second job that also pays) and it's taken me a year to finish three drafts of a single novel.
Oh yes, the third draft is done. And it's better than the one before it, which is really all one can hope for, right?
For me, the third draft was the first real re-writing I had to do. The second draft was more cursory, but the third...a bomb went off in that one.
I completely wrote out one character and greatly minimized two others. I raised the profile of a fourth. The narrative changed, drastically, and it became a couple shades darker. The ending is completely different. My protagonist, for the lack of a better term, grew a pair. This version of the book, I feel, flows better.
Then again, I haven't read through it with a red pen yet - that will be the fourth draft, after the new year. I need some time to breathe, charge the batteries.
But back to the need for patience.
I always want to work on the book, because I want to finish it. I mean, doesn't everyone want to finish what they are working on? To be able to say "I did that"? Sure, but my stark reality is it has to fit into the schedule, and the schedule is pretty packed.
Perhaps I mentioned this before, but I'm not a student of the "write with any fraction of time you have" school. That works for some people, but all it does is frustrate me. Which, of course, leads directly to how it takes a year to get through the third draft of a 71,900 word novel.
Now I can check that step off the list and move on to the next one. Maybe someday someone will even get to read it.