Three years, eight months, and one hundred and twenty thousand words later, the messy first draft of my novel is done! Now to start reading it over. It’s messy, so this is like the alpha or something, like v 0.843. I’ll read it and spend a couple of weeks revising it before even considering it an official v 1.0 first draft (which itself is only the first of many future drafts…). I’m a little apprehensive, to be honest. This past year, I blazed through the draft. I was ticked off at myself for taking so long (never mind that I had a lot of structural decisions to make). Maybe 10 months ago, I was at something like 50,000 words, and now I’m at 120,000. So I really blazed through. I said to myself, “Don’t worry about making it perfect, just make it. It will be perfect later.” I kicked myself in the ass and have managed to end up with this thing, whatever it is, but I know I can do better—the gap between good taste and the thing I’ve made. Keep doing the work, that’s how you close the gap.