I believe with all my heart the most important thing about writing a novel is completing the first draft.
It’s just math. It doesn’t matter how great or original your idea is. A great, original idea != a book. It doesn’t matter how long your outline is. An outline != a book. You have to complete that first draft. A first draft is a book, albeit (for many of us) a bad book-but a book nonetheless. Or manuscript, if you prefer. Then you do a ton of editing to make it a good book, or even a great book. If you’d like to see it spelled out, here are some formulas (to keep the whole math theme going):
no first draft = no book
first draft = book
(first draft + editing) = second draft = better book
(second draft + A LOT of editing) = next draft = good book
Simple? Good. But that brings me to a unexpected problem…