Today is my birthday. It was also the initial due date for my developmental edit. As a birthday/Christmas present to myself and my family, I finished the second draft a week early. And, it was one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life. Novel writing is the long distance running of careers. You have to maintain a pace and get to the finish line, which is typically months, if not years, away. People take a year or more to pen a first novel. It then takes months–if not a year–to secure an agent and several months to secure a publisher. (Obviously, some books never do. But I learned from the experience of NOT getting an agent for a few novels in drawers that it takes about a year to give up on them too and start something else). If you have a publisher and a contract for a next book, you still have six to eight months or so from the publication of the last novel to the delivery of the next one. However, writing becomes a sprint during the editing process. I got back my latest novel from my editors on December 3rd. I had until today to add fifteen to twenty thousand words to it (some parts were cut during the initial edit), make my protagonist have more agency, add a few more red herrings (can’t add all those words without new twists and turns), change some personality characteristics about another character, and rejigger a pretty significant plot point. I finished the rewrite on Monday December 19th. Sixteen days from when I first received the novel back. It took me a day to just digest the editorial letter and my kids were out of school for three days during that time period (I am a stay at home mom, sans babysitting). But I knew I had to finish it then because my daughter’s birthday is on the 22nd and I was hosting Christmas and a party for her. And, I needed a day to shop for Christmas and birthday presents, wrap them, and make the house look festive because it’s the holidays, darn it!I finished the developmental edit by working the six hours when my kids were in school and then, after putting them to bed, working another six hours until 3:30 in the morning for two weeks. But, I did it. And I got to spend the whole holiday week planning in-class Christmas parties, baking with my kids, taking care of one kid who got a stomach bug, writing Christmas cards and making my daughter’s 5th birthday pretty cool. So, I am feeling pretty awesome on my birthday today. Turns out that I can run fast when I need to.