I did it! I wrote a novel from beginning to end. I have a first draft. It's printed out and bound with Cerlox and it makes me smile every time I see it sitting here on my desk.
Next comes the weeks/months of editing and rewriting to take it from being a first draft of a novel to the final draft of a novel that I'm ready to show to potential agents. I'm almost as excited about that process as I am by the fact that I actually got this far.
When I say I'm excited I'm actually referring to a feeling that might be better described as excitement to the point of giddiness, mixed with a substantial dose of terror at the certainty that I'm going to read it again and realize that it's complete crap that can never be fixed. I take solace in the knowledge that I'm not alone in this post-first-draft feeling as I've heard many of my fellow writers say that they found themselves in the same place.
I will, however, forge ahead through the fear by clinging to the excitement about I'm what convinced that this novel can one day become.