For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. A few months ago, I finally started making the time to sit down and write, and today, I crossed the 50,000 word mark on my novel’s first draft.

According to NaNoWriMo‘s standards, my book has just qualified as a novel. That’s a very short novel, maybe a novella. But it’s still a huge benchmark to pass. It’s more than twice as long as anything I’ve written previously, and the plot has enough momentum to take it to a more reasonable book length.

I get up most mornings at 6am to fit in my writing time. Before I picked up the early morning habit, I failed to write anything. Free time doesn’t automatically get translated into pages written, and it’s too easy, without a schedule to procrastinate by doing other things you know you really ought to be doing. You can write, or you can do that laundry. You can write, or you can get caught up on your email inbox. There will always be something more pressing to be working on, until time is set aside just to write.

The first draft is weird, so far. One thing I’m learning through this process is just how hard a first draft can be. I had the entire book plotted out before I started (which was also hard work), but I’ve changed so much over the course of writing it that it’s lost some cohesion.

The full draft should be finished up sometime this spring. Then, I think it’ll take a full re-write before it’s ready to show to anyone else. Writing books is hard. As cliche as it sounds, though, getting started really is the hardest part.