Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Draft Complete: I Have Written a Novel

Let it be written that on 8:16 pm, eastern time, on July 2, 2008, roughly four years after he first started, Jim Cooney completed a draft of his first novel. From this point forward, "I'm writing a novel," will instead be, "I've written a novel." There is plenty left to do, but it is now, without question, a novel. It has a beginning, it has a middle, and as of this moment, it has an end.

So, Jim, how do you feel? Thanks for asking. I feel enormously grateful. Grateful that I have had the freedom, the support and encouragement necessary to see this through to completion. Writing a novel, I've realized, is not just an undertaking. It's a blessing. A lot of stars need to be aligned to make it possible, and I'm very lucky to have had the opportunity.

Of course I'm relieved, but it's a tempered sort of relief. More than I thought anyway. Perhaps this is related, but I don't feel especially celebratory yet. Maybe that will settle in slowly. Or maybe I'll do a cartwheel the second I walk out the library door. But right now I feel drained.

Truthfully, this has been a very stressful week. For a month I've been heavily invested in searching for a new apartment that will be a good fit for the upcoming year, growing more uncertain of my living situation with each passing week. Yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone I care about deeply, who is very, very angry with me (probably she will be reading this). And today, I learned that my boss has misremembered our discussion regarding my workload capacity when I go part-time, such that her current impression is that I'll be doing 50 percent more work in half the allotted time.

All of these things, I have no doubt, will work out fine. In fact, one of them already has: I found a comfortable space to live in with three lovely new roommates. But these things lumping together has made them difficult to process all at once, and my nerves are frayed. When I go several days without writing, consumed by errands piling up, or distracting life events, I get a little depressed. And when it happens so close to the conclusion, well, you can imagine how frustrating that is.

But it's finished. And I'm grateful.

How I will celebrate: My plan, simply enough, is to organize a reading of an excerpt for some friends in the area. A relaxed night with food, drinks, half a bar to ourselves, and a chapter (I have one picked out already). I'm really looking forward to that.


Amanda said...

Congratulations Jim!

Looking forward to reading it - how's about posting your chosen chapter??

And the friend who is not your biggest fan right now? Best thing ever is a frank and honest chat. there isn't a single problem that can't be sorted with a frank and honest chat.

Good luck!

Gus's friend Pat said...

I thought I heard fireworks!!! You've come a long way!! Gus the Bug

J. Rosemary Moss said...


Gratz, Jim! I'm so happy for you! And I second Amanda: please go ahead and post a preview-chapter.

I know how frustrating it is when life interferes with your writing. But here's a quote my writing group has been tossing around of late:

If you want to write, write. This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don't wait. Make the time now, even if it is ten minutes once a week.

~Author Unknown,

Once again, congratulations!


Amanda said...

Quit stalling Jim - where's the chapter??

Senor said...

Excellent point Amanda. It'd be great for everyone who comes here to get a taste of your book Jim.

I also realized I'm a horrible virtual friend, since congrats in person are not enough these days.

I'm really proud of you. You've worked diligently to fulfill a dream, all while holding down a "real" job. I know you've put in countless hours at the library and given up many a weekend to see this day. In the process you've probably written at LEAST four book worth of rewrites.

I can not say how much I look up and respect you for making this happen.


Anonymous said...

monica says...

I've been poring over your blog today. (not in a crazy obsessed manner.) Just getting to know you, i guess. and reading about your process. Congrats on the first draft.... (but what happened about the girl who was so very very angry with you? if you dont want to answer, that's ok. I'm being nosey, i guess, but can we call it caring, instead?)