Last week, I finished the first draft of a Middle Grade novel that I'd been writing on and off for about two years. It was one of those projects that I wanted to finish simply because I'd started it and wanted to know where the story ended. Sometimes it's important to finish projects because it's simply too easy to abandon a story.
I haven't yet read the draft and have no idea if there is anything worthwhile there. This is a typical experience for me. Often when I finish a first draft, I'm left with mixed feelings. I still have the same insecurities that I had as new writer back in my teens, wondering if any part of what I've produced is any good. Those feelings dissipated a bit after I published quite a number of books, but never vanished. The difference these days is that I'm less invested in the outcome if it turns out to be nothing.
The past several years have been difficult for my writing career. There was a point where I got too caught up in trying to write things to meet certain parameters, and when I did that, I often failed. Over the past two years, I've reverted back to the mental place where I started so many years back, and that is to write first and foremost for myself, telling stories that I want to tell. If nobody wants to read them, I'm okay with that these days.
This story may end up becoming one of those. Then again, it may not. Either way, I feel a sense of accomplishment and that's what is important to me right now.