First Draft and iWriteNetwork Retreat!

Written By: Jess - Mar• 31•14

(I apologize in advance for the GIF craziness in this post. But sometimes a GIF really is worth a thousand words. Now onto the important part:)


For those of you who aren’t up to speed, I’m talking about my first draft of my novel. You ready? Here’s how it went down. 

The Retreat

I got to go to an awesome writing retreat put on by iWriteNetwork. If you ever get the chance to go to one, take it! I had so much fun making new friends and hearing about other writer’s projects.

The retreat was in Heber, Utah in a really cool lodge overlooking the mountains. I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures while there. It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be with a lot of nooks and crannies to write.

While there I also was given an awesome prize/gift for being the happiest camper. I can’t wait to put these to use!


Almost everyday when I started writing (after forcing myself to stop checking Facebook and articles) I’d get into a grove. Early on it felt like:

But as the night went on it ended up feeling more like:

The first day I wrote a little more than my usual goal, but on Friday and Saturday I wrote considerably more. Here’s how the word count broke down:

Thursday: 1,364

Friday: 5,063

Saturday: 7,856

Total: 14,283!

I had no idea I could churn out that many words in a day! I definitely learned how far I could push myself during the retreat. They also fed us really well and what classes I attended were very well put together and informative. I didn’t go to too many simply because I knew I wanted to finish my manuscript by checkout Sunday morning.

And at 5:40 am (or there round about) on Sunday it happened! That’s right:

What did surprise me when I finished was how long it ended up being.

I’d thought, and planned on, my MS being around 85K. Yeah… that didn’t happen. Right now it’s a little over 105K.

I’m okay with that number. I know when all is said and done it might be longer or, more likely, shorter.

But when I finished I didn’t care how long it was. When I typed the last word of my MS I felt pretty dang happy. Tired, but happy.

I texted Jack after the last scene even though I knew he was asleep – I just couldn’t wait. But my favorite part was when I got home and excitedly told him the news again. It was a little like this:

So, now that it’s done, am I going to let anyone read the ugly mess of my first draft before I start fixing it?

I really, really want to start revising it. I already know somethings I need to change, but I’m letting it sit for a month before I start. It’s tough. Here’s my self-restraint right now:

Then I think about what going though those revisions are going to be like.

Overall, the retreat was so much fun and I’m very excited to have finished the first draft. And yes, this was my first novel. 🙂


(Side note: I started my novel on May 13th of last year. I don’t know the word counts per day/week/month of what I did before January, but here have been my last three months:

January: 20,560

February: 23,686

March: 32,109 – including the retreat )

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  1. Alison says:

    I wish my self-restraint looked like Spike chained in a bathtub 😉 – I’m glad the retreat went so well! And, when you need a beta reader for your book baby, let me know!

    • Jess says:

      Lol, the Spike scene was one of my favorites. I was excited to find something to use the GIF with. I thought it was appropriate. 🙂 I’ll definitely send it to you when it’s ready! I’m hoping for late summer/early fall. 😀

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