The crippling disappointment of writing a novel

The crippling disappointment of writing a novel - Daniel Dalton

My first novel took me 8 weeks to write. I was 21.

I’d been planning to write it for around 6 months, so when I sat down to work, the words fell onto the page, all 60,000 of them.

I was working part time and a full time student, so I had to fit my writing into late nights and weekends. The whole time I had this sense that I was achieving something great, that this novel will change the world.

I slaved over my laptop til 3, 4, 5am, most nights, counting the barriers as they fell; 10,000 words, 20,000 words…

And then I was done. And I felt… empty. After the excitement of the challenge, suddenly being left with no goal was a massive fucking disappointment.

I wasn’t expecting a sudden influx of bitches and money, but I was sure I should probably feel more proud of myself, more excited.

At 21, when your peers are out doing vastly more social and interesting things than writing a novel, it’s difficult to relate. People for the most part could not give a fuck. 

I got some great feedback (the University loved it), but I could never quite get past the feeling that it was a giant piece of shit.

But I kept writing. I worked as a journalist, honing my craft like many of my literary heroes. I wrote short stories, songs, screenplays, synopses, joined writer’s groups, edited other people’s work, gave lectures, and I read and read and read.

In November this year, at 28, I wrote a second novel

This time it took me 19 days, and I felt a great satisfaction.

No emptiness of disappointment. No petulance or arrogance.

Well, a bit of arrogance. 

As for the first novel, it’s not going anywhere. The right time will come for it to shine, I’m sure of it.

There just might have to be a few other novels first.

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