I Finished My First Draft! Time to Panic by Kirsten McNeill

I Finished My First Draft! Time to Panic by Kirsten McNeillLet’s welcome back Kirsten McNeill as she shares with us “I Finished My First Draft! Time to Panic.” Enjoy!


Over the last year, I’ve been helping a friend write her memoir. She escaped from Hungary in 1956 and journeyed to Canada to build a new life. I am honoured to be part of telling such a beautiful story.

When I finished the first draft, I was overjoyed! What a milestone, right?

That joy lasted for about 10 seconds before I started thinking about the next steps and all that is left to accomplish.

My brain was overrun by overwhelm. Head spinning, I asked myself: What should I do? What’s next? I spent the next hour searching for editors to contact so that I’m prepared when the time comes to hire one.

Why couldn’t I slow down? Why couldn’t I enjoy the fact that I had accomplished something HUGE? I deserved to celebrate, to rest before I jumped head first into the next step.

I love writing, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in the process I forget to enjoy the journey.

Has this ever happened to you? 

What can you do to bring yourself back to a joyful place?

Here are three tips on what to do after you’ve completed a first draft so you can avoid overwhelm, and remain in the moment with your accomplishment.

Tip #1 – Celebrate Yourself in the Moment (for much long than 10 seconds)

You are incredible! The first draft is completed. You wrote an entire novel!

Is it ready to be published? No, but who cares? That doesn’t matter.

That’s too far in the future to think about. You wrote an entire novel which is a huge milestone.

Soak in your success!

Reflect on every moment that got you here. You don’t need to do anything else on this project today.

You’ve already accomplished something big and taking a break from your work is an important part of the process, so you can come back to it with a fresh perspective.

Tip #2 – Tell Everyone You Know (and even those you don’t)

Keep that momentum going! Allow others to join you in your celebration. Friends, family, the grocery store clerk or city bus driver, all your followers on social media — let them know that you finished your draft, and that you’re making great progress in your writing journey!

Your people will love being involved in your process and knowing how well you’re doing. 

Who knows? You may inspire a fellow writer to work on their own projects.

Just think of all the kind comments you’ll receive about this achievement.

You don’t have to keep all your excitement bottled up. Allow your community to boost you up as well.

Learning to accept compliments and enjoying them is a powerful skill to practice too.

Tip #3 – Create Something for Pure Fun

After you finish your draft, that creative adrenaline may beg you to keep going, keep creating.

Avoid the urge to work on your novel. You deserve a break. 

Instead, create for the sake of creating to celebrate yourself and put that creative energy into something new.

Write a story that only you will see, or journal about the experience of writing your current project.

This will keep your writing muscles flexed without the pressure to move on to the next step right away.

Bake a cake, create a collage, write a theme song for your story. Do something that makes you feel good.

You are an amazing creative sunflower, shining your light on the reader community, but not everything you do needs to be in service of them. Creativity is all about YOU and your experiences.

Sometimes it’s nice to be creative for creativity’s sake.

Enjoy the Journey, Not the Destination

Yes, you’ve completed a draft and that means the journey to publishing your work isn’t over.

That doesn’t mean that you have to keep pushing to the next step to get it done. Enjoy the moment as it is without any judgement to your progress.

Writing is a long journey, and if you’re passionate about it, then have fun with it. Writing is a big part of your life, and you should embrace every single moment.

We all have different processes from the moment we get a story idea through to the publishing stage.

You never have to rush because you think that’s what you “should” be doing. 

Writing a book will have its challenges, but if you get your message across, if you use your voice to share your story and your imagination, that’s all that matters.

Follow these tips and the next time you finish a draft, or accomplish ANY step in your journey, it will be so much easier to celebrate yourself.

It’ll be so much easier to see how far you’ve come and appreciate the hard work you’ve put into creating something special.

Never forget that you are worthy!



Kirsten McNeillKirsten McNeill is a Confidence & Writing Lifestyle Coach, Book Editor, and Self-Published Writer. Her mission with Worthy Writers Editing is to bring sunflower sunshine to the creative world connecting writers to the confidence and passion they desire to help them publish and share their stories.


Instagram: www.instagram.com/confident.kirsten

Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theworthywritersnook

Create With Purpose digital journal free download: www.worthywriters.ca/product/create-with-purpose-journal

Write Your Entrepreneurial Memoir digital journal free download: www.worthywriters.ca/product/write-your-entrepreneurial-memoir

Recommended Reading:

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Discovering Your Worth: Happiness Through Confidence by Kirsten McNeill (available as a PDF in the Empowered Writers Bundle on the Worthy Writers Online Bookstore www.worthywriters.ca/product/empowered-writers-bundle)

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