Beginning the Second Draft of My Novel

Yesterday, I started writing the second draft of my novel. I finished the first draft back in mid-September. I wrote 1,200 words, and overall, it felt pretty good. I think I’m still trying to find just the right voice, but I feel it coming on, and I imagine I’ll have it soon.

What surprised me most is how quickly I was able to get back into the mindset of the novel. Between finishing the first draft and starting the second draft, I wrote four other stories, and several nonfiction pieces. I thought it might be difficult to immerse myself back in the world that I created, and the characters that live there. It turned out to be surprisingly easy.

Moreover, I find myself in the mental “zone” of the story. I think other writers get this, but I’m not sure non-writers will understand. It basically means that my mind is firing on all cylinders, whether I’m actually writing the story, or just thinking about it as I walk, or go throughout my day. The focus is there. It’s like a pitcher who is throwing a perfect game into the sixth or seventh inning. I’m cruising and it feels great.

It has a wonderful secondary side-effect: it serves as a constant release value for stress. I’ve mentioned before how writing each day, even if the writing isn’t great, is always a stress reliever for me. Being in the zone for this story is like having a constant stress-relief valve open to relieve the pressure in a constant stream.

Bottom line, I was a little nervous to get started, but once I did, it felt great. I wonder if this is how writers who have been writing novels for a long time feel when they start on their second drafts?

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.