Write Your First Draft: A Guide to Finishing Your Book | Amy Stewart | Skillshare

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Write Your First Draft: A Guide to Finishing Your Book

teacher avatar Amy Stewart, Writer & artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Your Project


    • 3.

      Make a Plan


    • 4.

      Study Your Comps


    • 5.

      Write Your Pages


    • 6.

      Finding the Words


    • 7.

      The Next Day


    • 8.

      Stay on Course


    • 9.

      Stumbling Blocks


    • 10.



    • 11.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Are you ready to start writing your book?

The act of sitting down in front of a blank page takes a certain amount of courage.

It’s a long road with plenty of uncertainty ahead. But you can make a plan to get it done.

This class is for anyone beginning a new book project, whether it’s your first book or your fourteenth, and whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction.

I’m going to show you what I do to write a well-structured, well-thought out, and well-written first draft—and all of these techniques work just as well for rewrites. So even if you already have a first draft, or even just a half-start at a new book, and you’re realizing that what you need to do is to start over and approach it from a new direction, using everything you learned in those early attempts—this class is for you.

Meet Your Teacher

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Amy Stewart

Writer & artist



Welcome! For the last twenty years, I've devoted my life to making art and writing books. It gives me great joy to share what I've learned with you. 

I love talking to writers and artists, and bonding over the creative process. I started teaching so that I can  inspire others to take the leap. 

I believe that drawing, painting, and writing are all teachable skills. Forget about talent--it doesn't exist, and you don't need it. With some quality instruction and lots of practice, any of us can make meaningful, honest, and unique art and literature.

I'm the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books. When I'm not writing or traveling on book tour, I'm painting and drawing in ink, watercolor, gouache, and oil. Come f... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Amy Stewart. I'm the author of six nonfiction books and six novels based on a true story, for my books have been New York Times best sellers and for 20 years I've supported myself as a full time working writer. To accomplish that requires a lot of persistence and, you know, just a lot of time pushing through one draft after another of my next book. For most writers, there's nothing more intimidating than that blank page. The act of just sitting down toe actually start writing your book takes a certain amount of courage, and I'm not gonna lie. It's a long road, but over the years I've come up with some strategies for getting this done. This class is for anyone beginning a new book project, whether it's your first book or your 14th book, I'm going to show you what I do to write a well structured, well thought out and somewhat well written first draft. And all of these techniques were Justus well, for rewrites. If you have a first draft already or just used, maybe sort of have made 1/2 start at a new book and you're realizing that what you need to do is start over and approach it from a new direction. Using everything you learned in those early attempts, this class is for you to my 1st 2 books were entirely rewritten from scratch after I labored and labored and labored over early drafts that just weren't working. So wherever you are in that process, I created this class to help you get the next draft under your belt. Let's get started. 2. Your Project: You know, writing a book is a massive project, but let's start with a small project and that is toe right out your intentions for your next draft. I have a little checklist, and you can download it and fill it out for yourself. It's a place for you to take the ideas from this class and write them out in your own words . There's just something really powerful about putting your intentions down in writing, using actual pen and paper. So I hope youll give this a try. And if you'd like to share what you're doing, uploaded to the project section and let the other students learn from your examples. 3. Make a Plan: I want to tell you a story about some advice I got when I was working on my third book, I was in Iowa City visiting a friend of mine who was the founder of Iowa's prestigious nonfiction program, and I was telling him what a hard time I had with my 1st 2 books and how I made such a mess in my early drafts. That I ended up having to toss out the entire manuscript and start over from scratch was a really awful frustrating process. And he said, Oh, I know what kind of writer you are. I've seen a lot of writers come through here over the years, and I think there's two types, he said. You're the kind of writer who has to start writing it out in order to figure out where you're going. You make a big mess, and then you have to start over maybe more than once. But you get there eventually just by writing your way through it. So I said, Well, okay, what's the other kind of writer? And he said, Oh, well, the other kind of writer spends a lot of time thinking about it and taking notes and outlining and planning before they ever put anything down on paper. So that first part takes him a long time. But then once they sit down to start actually writing, it really goes pretty quickly. And I said, Oh, I want to be that kind of writer That sounds much better And he said, Well, you can't change your either one or the other And I said, Watch me. After that I completely changed my writing process for my third book, I told my publisher that I wasn't gonna write a single page for the first year. I was gonna do all of my interviews and all my research, and I'd have a lot of files and index cards and a lot of notes and ideas. And I wasn't going to sit down and start writing until I had the whole subject figured out , and that's exactly what I did. And I've never again had to throw out a manuscript and start over from scratch. So I know that some of you really like to work the way I used to work. You like to jump in and just find your way as you go. And, of course, if that's working for you. Great. But stick with me because I think you might still get some good ideas about how to approach your work. Um, from what I'm gonna be talking about. So what I do now, before I sit down to start writing is I try to have a chapter by chapter plan, and usually I start by writing this out by hand in a notebook. And maybe it's just a page for every chapter. Eventually it becomes a word document on my computer, and I might have two or three or four pages about every chapter. These days I'm writing fiction and my chapters air really short. They're usually like one scene is one chapter. But if I'm writing longer chapters, I would break that down even further and have maybe half a page or one page for every scene within the chapter. I always advise beginning writers to start out by just generating a ton of ideas on index cards. Just get everything out in any order and don't think about organization. And maybe you've done that. Maybe you've been off doing a ton of research and you know a lot about your subject, but you're just not sure how to organize it into a coherent narrative. So wherever you are in that process, now is the time to organize those ideas and figure out what order they go in and what the structure of your book ought to be. Your task at this point might be to take all your ideas about your novel or your memoir and , uh, or any other kind of nonfiction book. Really, This is for fiction and nonfiction and apply some kind of story structure to it. Your goal at this point is to get to where you can confidently, right, some kind of chapter by chapter planned for your book. And I have one big suggestion that applies to everybody at this point, and that is to really go look at your cops. 4. Study Your Comps: Okay, So what exactly are cops? Comp store The books that are most similar two years in today's Bookmark it. These are the books that are most likely to appeal to the same audience that your book will appeal to. They don't have to be exactly like your book. Hopefully, nothing is exactly like your book, but they should be popular. Well known recent books that serve as a kind of easy shorthand for where your book fits in the marketplace. When you're aging goes to picture book to publishing houses, they're gonna want you to come up with a list of cops. And those comes need to show that you have a solid understanding of today's book market. So when a publisher says this book is like gone Girl meets Big Little Lies, Those were cops that tells the sales team who they're gonna market this book to, and you're comes don't have to be massive blockbusters, but they do need to be popular, successful recent books the publishers get excited about, So now is the time for you to go look for those compass and look at how those books are structured. If it's a non fiction book, like, maybe it's, ah, maybe writing a how to book or a self help type of topic. You might want to look at how that information is presented, like are their little boxes and sidebars or certain bits of information that are pulled out and formatted in a different way. Does the author illustrate their points with a lot of anecdotes and stories about clients? And if it's fiction, ask yourself some really basic questions like, How long are the chapters? Is there a lot of dialogue or just a little dialogue? Are their lengthy flashbacks and if so, how are those flashbacks handled? Like what kinds of transitions take readers in and out of the flashbacks? Do the authors of your comp spend a lot of time inside their characters heads where the characters are just sitting around thinking about the plot? Or do you find out what they're thinking by watching what they say and do within a scene? How much do your camps have in the way of description, like in terms of sight, sound, smell, taste? I sit down with my cops and I do chapter by chapter summaries and sometimes even make a little diagrams to help me understand how these books are put together. It's almost a mechanical process, like reverse engineering. The book. I'm not trying to copy these books in terms of their style, their plot, their structure, any of that. I'm just trying to think about my book within the context of other popular books that my readers also loved. So I can understand why. What you've done all this. You might change your mind and decide Teoh. Rearrange your book entirely and you might change it again later. But let me tell you, it's much easier to rearrange an outline than to rearrange a finished manuscript. So spend as much time as you need in this phase, putting things in order, checking back in with your cops and almost being able to visualize the entire book from start to finish. Of course, there's gonna be a lot of discoveries along the way, and I always leave myself lots and lots of room to improvise. But I do want to know going in what? Why am I telling this story? What's the point of it? What are my character is going to discover and learn and experience along the way. How Are they gonna be changed by the end of the book? And I want to know the ending before I start. I know there are writers out there, even crime writers writing really tricky detective novels who start out having no idea who the murderer waas good for them. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do that. I like to be ableto play my book in my mind like I'm watching a TV show before I get started. So go ahead and do as much. Planning and organizing is feels right for you. Get some chapter by chapter or seen by seeing summaries written, and the next step is we're going to start writing some pages. 5. Write Your Pages: Okay. Are you ready to write some pages? First of all, I think it's a good idea to give yourself a target and try to stick to it. Now remember, I'm a full time professional writer. This is my only job. So when I sit down to write my first draft of my next book, I give myself a goal that I'm gonna write 1000 words a day that works out to about two single spaced pages a day, and often I end up going a little over. At that rate, I can write the first draft of a book and about three months. But remember, I don't have anything else going on in my life, and I've totally cleared my calendar so I can stay home and get this done. And I know that that's just not possible for a lot of people. You might be better off writing one single space page a day, which is about 500 words a day. At that rate, you can finish your first draft in about six months. I'm assuming, by the way, that your book is about 100,000 words long, which it can vary. But let's just go with that and also that you'll miss a day here and there for various reasons. But if that also seems like too much, then I recommend committing yourself to writing one double spaced page a day. That's only about 250 year 300 words per day. You're probably writing emails longer than that every day. At that rate, you can finish a book in a year, for sure, and that is a very respectable schedule. In fact, that's an impressive schedule. I always build skip days into my schedule. It might make more sense for you to write five days a week and always have two days. You can take off or even to concentrate all your writing into longer sessions once or twice a week. It really depends on what other demands you have on your time. Also, a few words about beginnings here. One of the things that's so hard about getting started with your book is figuring out a great beginning, so I would urge you to right a terrible, boring beginning to your book and just keep going because you're gonna come back and change the beginning later. I have literally started books with sentences like I know this needs to start with the car accident, but I'm not sure how to write about the car accident yet, so I'm just going to start the morning after and I'll come back and write this car accident scene later. I write that down. That's the beginning of my book. Or you can start with the most obvious kind of introduction. Like Amy Stewart was a writer who lived in Portland, Oregon, one day and go on with the story. You can figure out a great opening line later. I promise you that you're gonna want to come back and change the beginning, no matter what you put down, so you might as well just write something down and keep moving. Now I always start each day's writing session by figuring out for myself what needs to happen, almost pages I'm about to write. And sometimes I even type that at the top of the document I might write something like, uh, this is the scene where florid gets caught sneaking out of the house, and she decided she can't stand living under the same roof with her sister's any longer. So I basically know what's gonna happen and what sort of changes brought about in this scene or how it's moving the story forward. It's kind of like a mission statement for the pager, about two right? And if you realize that you have no idea what's gonna happen in the next scene, then I suggest that you take a notebook, walk away from your desk and go sit in a chair in the backyard and just start writing about how lost and confused you are and how you really don't know what's gonna happen next and see if you can. With pen and paper. Write your way into the answer before you sit down and start typing. 6. Finding the Words: I want to give you a couple of suggestions, forgetting words down on the page. This is going to sound kind of obvious and maybe also kind of crazy, but it really helped me when I figured this out. The 1st 1 is this. When you sit down in front of your computer and tell yourself, Okay, I need to write a scene where Constance barges into the lawyer's office to confront her sister. After you tell yourself that, be very quiet and listen to what your brain says back to you. It's very likely that your brain will give you the exact sentence that you just asked for. It will be something like Constance barged into the lawyer's office to confront her sister . Now, at this point, if you're like me, you'll say, No, no, that won't work. I need something much better than that. That is not at all what I had in mind, and your brain might go. You know what? You asked me for a sentence, and I just gave you one. If you don't like it, I'm just going to check out and you can figure this out on your own and then your brain goes off and starts wondering if your aunt's dog has had its surgery yet. And the next thing you know, you've been on Facebook for an hour and you haven't gotten a word written. So here's a wild idea. If you sit down and say I need to start with a line about this or that and your brain gives you a line, write it down. And if you keep listening, your brain might give you the next line and then the next one. And pretty soon you've written a page. Now you might think I'm totally crazy. Maybe you don't ever sit there arguing with your own brain. It could be that this is not at all how you work, but my advice to you, especially when you're writing a first draft is toe. Let your own words come out on your own pages. You don't need to go squashing every single sentence and every single idea that bubbles up to the surface. If you keep rejecting your own ideas, and if you keep rejecting your own sentences because they're not good enough, you might find the pretty soon you're not getting any more ideas, so just put it down and keep going because it's the easiest thing in the world to come back later and fix an awkward Senate's. What's hard to dio is to fill a page for the first time, and what we're here to do in the first draft is to fill pages. Okay, here's the second thing. If you're still stuck and you find that you just can't get going, then my advice is to keep a book nearby. That's totally inspiring to you. It doesn't have to be one of your cops, but it does have to be a book with a writing style and language and voice that really speaks to the kind of book you're trying to write in some way that's very personal to you. And open that book up to any page and then open a new document on your computer or a page in your notebook and start copying from the book you've selected literally write it out Word for word. Just typing someone else's words can get you into the rhythm of the act of writing, and usually within a couple of paragraphs you can delete that document and go back and start writing your own book. now be sure you delete it or cross it out in your notebook so you don't come back years from now and think that's something you wrote and try to publish it. That would be bad. But I think that, um, turning to other writing for inspiration in the physical act of writing beautiful, wonderful words that you admire can really get your brain ready to start writing your story . 7. The Next Day: After my pages were done for the day, I save my document and then I email it to myself. So I always have an extra backup in addition to the automated backup that runs on my computer every night. And then I walk away from the computer. I don't read over what I've just written. I don't keep going for hours and hours. Sometimes I'll keep writing for a few paragraphs because I have a really good idea about how I want these pages to go, and I don't want to forget it. But usually, once I've hit my 1000 words, I just stop sometimes in the middle of the Senate's. I might leave myself a little note for the next day to remind myself what's coming next. But I learned a long time ago that the longer I write, the worse it gets. So I no longer force myself to have really long writing sessions. It might take me a couple hours to write my 1000 words, or it might take all afternoon, but it's not a solid eight hour day. Eight hours of writing would be exhausting and draining. So the next day, when I come back to my manuscript. I'll read over whatever I wrote the day before, and I'll make us meet a few small corrections to any obvious typos or mistakes. Hopefully, I ended the day before right in the middle of a scene, or even right in the middle of a line of dialogue, because it's so easy that way to just pick up and keep going. What I don't dio is I don't go back to the beginning of my book and keep reading those first few chapters over and over and over again. I want this writing to be asses freshest possible and for me to be able to be surprised by it. So mostly I'm writing new pages every day, and I'm barely glancing back at what I've written before. But there's another reason why I don't want to go back and read this whole thing too often . And that is that. A first draft is usually awful. It's horrible. Every writer lives in fear of getting hit by a bus in the middle of a first draft in the world will finally find out what a terrible writer they actually are. You know, I had dinner one night with kin hair. If Who is the beloved award winning author of Plain Song and several other novels? This man was an absolutely incredible novelist, and he told me over dinner that night how terrible the first draft of his next book, Waas on How discouraging it Waas toe, look out toe, be looking over those dreadful pages and see how far he still had to go. He talked about that. He really envied people who are just good at their jobs and can show up and do a great job and people think them for it and recognize them for it. And then they can go home with the satisfaction of a job well done, because he never has a day like that. The fact is, it's just no fun to show up and do terrible work. Most of us take a lot of pride in doing a job well, and it's discouraging to not do it well. But there is no way around this, folks. Your first draft is gonna be awful. The art comes later. The art comes in the editing, the revising and the rewriting. Think of your first draft. Is the scaffolding on a building. There's nothing pretty about the scaffolding, but it's absolutely necessary to get the building built. And once the building is done and it's beautiful and polished and ready to be shared with the world, you're not that scaffolding off and throw it away. So what you're doing right now with your pages is your building scaffolding. It doesn't have to be gorgeous. Gorgeous is going to come later. 8. Stay on Course: Okay. Now, having just said all that about the scaffolding, it's still worthwhile to give some thought to the quality of your language and to the voice in the tone of your book. Even in this first draft, very few of us are writing books that sound exactly how we talk, or exactly how we write on everyday basis and emails or social media posts. For the book you're writing. You're aiming for something better than that. You're aiming for language that pulls your readers into a very particular world. You know, I envy Hollywood for having scenery and actors and intonation and sound effects and music to do some of that work because we have to do it all with words. So I said to let yourself right and let yourself get out on the page without being so picky about every word that you never get anything done. But I also say that even in your first draft, this is a good time to be mindful about language. One of the reasons I don't write 10 pages of the stretch is that it's intellectually exhausting work, but if you're only doing a page at a time, you should be able to get yourself in the right headspace to express yourself more or less with the kind of language that fits with the type of book you're writing. Even if you're writing, let's say, a nonfiction book like a How to manual or a technical book. There's still a voice. There's always a voice. Maybe you want to sound warm and approachable. You might want to be kind of snarky and sarcastic. Or maybe there's sort of like a grace and a spirituality to what you're writing. So this is a bit of a balancing act. On one hand, I would encourage you to get your pages written and don't get so hung up on writing the perfect sentence that you can't get a page done. On the other hand, I want you to remember that language is all you have, so try to stay connected to the kind of voice you want this book to have and always reach for that voice is you right. Another thing to think about as you go forward are some of these structural issues that we talked about earlier. Are you writing a book that's very heavy on dialogue? Is it important to you to have a rich, evocative setting like is the setting almost like another central character in the book? You know, maybe you've set your book in New Orleans, and it really needs to feel like New Orleans. Nowhere else are there gonna be flashbacks. And how are those handled meaning? How do you transition in and out of them? How do the flashbacks relate to the present day events? If it's a non fiction book, may be more of an informational kind of book. What about those things, like sidebars or other bits of information that you might want to call out in a different type of format? So as you're sitting down to write your pages, it's a good idea to keep those elements in mind and just make sure you haven't wandered too far away from your original plan for the book. If you intended to write a book that's very heavy on dialogue, but you find yourself writing all these scenes where the characters are just sitting around thinking about stuff you might need to push yourself to get back on course, and sometimes you might feel that you need to stop and do some research. I very rarely allow myself to do any research while I'm writing. I'll generally just put a string of Capital X is in the manuscript to remind myself that I need to go back right there and look something up. And then I can just do a quick find and find all those double exes and work on those issues all at once. Sometimes I don't even give characters names right away because I don't want to stop and think about it too much. I might just call them Mrs X or Mr Wire RZ and then go back and do a find and replace once I've got a better feel for what their names really ought to be. But if there's something that you feel you absolutely must know in order to write that scene, I mean, let's say you want your character to drive a car, but you're not clear on exactly when cars were invented. You might take a quick minute look that up just so you can write the scene. But really do the bare minimum amount of research and leave yourself a little note that you need to come back later and flesh that out 9. Stumbling Blocks: Sometimes when you're writing, you'll notice that bigger structural problems have cropped up. You realize that you need to rearrange some events. Maybe you've kind of written yourself into a corner, and now you realize that something different needed to happen, like five scenes ago in order for this next part toe work. Um, this happens to me all the time. In particular, I'm guilty of doing this thing where I have some really important piece of action take place, something that's absolutely critical to the plot on Lee. I have that thing being done by some peripheral minor character. I don't know why I do this. Of course, I need my main character to be the one doing the heavy lifting. She's the one who has to take most of the actions that move the story forward. So I go away and ponder that, and I figure out another way to structure it. But then the question is, Do I backtrack now and rewrite the last five or 10 scenes? Or do I just make notes to myself right in the manuscript where I explained the problem and the solution I've come up with and keep writing and generally that's what I'll dio if it's at all possible for me to just go back, drop in some notes about how these scenes need to be different. I will do that. And then I just keep writing as if I've already made those changes. But sometimes that's impossible. Like for one of my novels, I decided that I needed to change the point of view and rather than right in the first person I needed to be writing in the third person because that would allow us to see the other characters and what they're up to when my protagonist isn't around. Um, and it gave me a way to completely restructure the novel in a way that worked much better. In that case, I had no choice but to set aside what I'd already done and start again. So I can't answer this question for you. But I will tell you that whatever you decide, whether you're just gonna forge ahead and come back later to make those revisions or whether you decide you're gonna put this version aside and start over, remember, Everything you've done up to this point was absolutely necessary. Not a word of it was wasted. It was all scaffolding for this building you're constructing. It's all part of the process. You know, I have a friend who wrote seven or eight unpublished novels in his twenties before he started writing novels that got published. And he doesn't regret any of the years he put into writing those early unpublishable novels . He knows that he had to write all those pages in order to get to the successful novels that he's publishing today. This is just how writers work, So don't regret any pages that you have to throw away if you need to stop and reassess its fine. Now some writers like to stop and read over what they've written after a certain point. Maybe they take a break when they're 1/3 of the way through the book. Maybe they stop every 100 pages and read everything up to that point. Something like that. They feel it's helpful to read everything they've written so far and make sure it's all working before they go forward into the next section. I don't like to do that myself. Like I said, I'll read over the previous day's page. I'll make very minor corrections, but then I keep going and I'm doing this because when I do come back to read it over, I wanted to feel fresh and surprising. But also you remember what I said about how all first drafts were terrible and one of the reasons I don't go back and read over my first draft is I already know it's terrible. I don't want to get too discouraged. I'm still in the middle of this thing and I need to keep going. So I'd rather just forge ahead and not let myself get too weighed down by all the mistakes I've probably already made along the way. 10. Finished!: Wait. Did you finish? Oh, my God. Did you really finish? That's amazing. Go celebrate. Put your book away. Forget about it. Forget it ever happened. Go on a vacation. If you add all possibly can I actually try to schedule some kind of vacation for right after I finish a book? Um, so take some time off. Go do something else, have some fun. Enjoy having all that extra time back to do whatever you want, um, or to do nothing at all. I mean, during nothing at all is a great idea. Right now, I like to get 2 to 4 weeks away from my book before I go back to it. Put it in a drawer. Let it cool off. When I do pick it up again, I try as much as possible to read it straight through without slowing down to make a lot of little corrections on every page. I think it's best printed out at this point and sit there and make notes in the margins or add some post its here and there with some of your thoughts. But really read it quickly so you can get an overall impression of it. You know what's hard about writing as opposed to, say painting is that when you're painting, you can stand back and get an impression of it all at once, and in fact, anyone can come stand next to you and look at it as well. Even if you're making movies, you know you can watch a movie in a couple of hours, but a book might take 10 to 20 hours to read, and it's hard to get that quick but also very complete impression of a book. You're gonna be influenced by what mood you're in when you're reading one section or another. How long it takes you what else you have going on in your life. It's just tough to get a really good take on your manuscript. So read it quickly and try to read it in long stretches so that you're taking in as much as you can at once. Don't just pick it up and put it down in small doses. You want to really be able to fully inhabit it. Now you'll probably make a lot of notes about things you want to change, and you might even want to spread it all out on the floor and totally rearrange it. Maybe with a little help from your cat, you might be adding or removing chapters. At this point, you might even decide to get rid of one character entirely or add a new character. I've definitely done that before. You might also decide to totally change the point of view or to write it with a different voice. You know, like maybe you realize this needs to sound more sinister or more Gothic or more lighthearted, New, youthful. But so for those big changes, here's my suggestion. Don't revise. Re right. Open a new document and start typing. You can have your marked up manuscript next to you, but type it a fresh. You'll be willing to make bigger, bolder moves. If you're writing fresh paragraphs instead of editing on an old document now, you might still bring in sections from the old version and maybe even copy and paste in some chunks from the old version to the new. But start with a new document and listen. Rewriting is the most satisfying and fulfilling work you will do is a rewrite as our as a writer, rewriting is not a punishment for all the mistakes you made. This is actually the good part. This is the part where you get to rely on all the hard work you've done before, but make something much better out of it. You can have a lot more confidence this time because you know where you've gone and you know where you're going next. This rewriting phase, this is a good place to get to, so enjoy it. 11. Final Thoughts: once I have written my first draft and I've rewritten it, which I often have to dio, or at least I rewrite sections of it. But once I have a draft that really hangs together and that I feels working, that's when I get into revision and lying editing and small changes, and that's a whole process for another class. That's what comes next. But for now, what you have ahead of you is a process that takes commitment and a lot of persistence. You know, 99% of this is just showing up and doing the work. I've had days where nothing was going right about the book I was writing, and I'd take myself for a walk around the block just to try to stop myself from freaking out too much. And what I tell myself on those days is I may not have all the answers. I may not have a brilliant idea for what should happen next. I'm definitely not the best writer in the world or the best writer of my generation are. For all I know, I'm not even the best writer on my on my block. I'm not even the best writer on this street, probably. But what I do have is persistence. The one thing that I can bring to this, the one thing that is entirely under my control, is that I can show up and write my pages today, and I will do that. So take your persistence and get to work. Download the checklist I posted in the project section. If you'd like to write out your intentions for your book and feel free to post those here in the projects, if you want to share what you did and also post your comments and questions in the discussion area, I'll pop in to answer those. And I teach a lot of other classes. So check those out and also feel free to come find me online. I send out a newsletter. I'm on social media. I'm easy to find, and I would love to hear from you. Thank you. And good luck with your book