A few examples:
- I'm glad I was teaching while I drafted the first third of the manuscript and did the bulk of my research. The first part is always the hardest, and the hardest to do without other things to balance it out, so teaching 2 classes was just about right during this time.
- I'm glad I took my creative writing class during this same period. Since I'd done so much academic writing for so long before this project, the class helped me transition and gave me vital instruction and feedback as to how to provide the right amount of tension and information in those vital early chapters that help to sell books and hook readers. And most importantly, they helped encourage me that I was on the right track when my confidence was lowest.
- I'm glad to have so many delightful volunteer readers and others to encourage me and listen to my crazed ramblings about the research and characters of my novel. Having patient sounding boards helped me during my deepest immersions in the novel, and having readers who needed to read the novel by specific times gave me much-needed deadlines in addition to crucial feedback to help me revise.
- I'm glad I was able to immerse myself in writing the last two-thirds of the novel this summer with few distractions. Yes, I know, I know--as late as May I was warning people that I might become completely incapable of socialization during this period, and was scared of it. But the truth is that as the book grew longer, frequent complete re-reads and revision sessions became necessary, requiring long chunks of time. In fact, in the last two weeks before the full draft was finished, every time I sat down to write I re-read almost the whole thing first every single time (this was why I was up till 5 a.m. every other night during that time). I'm convinced that without this immersive experience of writing a lot of story in a short (but not too short) period of time, the end of the story wouldn't read nearly as fluidly.
- I'm glad I did all that obsessive re-reading and re-drafting of the whole story toward the end of the first draft. Because without my obsessive re-reading, on the last day of initial drafting I would never have been able to make that gigantic push (35 pages in less than 24 hours! by far a personal best!). Certainly not without feeling confident that my big climax and resolution scenes actually wrapped up most of the story threads. Sure, I had to go back and revise some of the early parts to foreshadow the exact details a bit after the fact, but that's been a joy and delight as well.