Step One: Enjoy this weekend. It will be your last.
Step Two: Come Monday, start a strict writing regimen in the hopes of finishing your novel.
Step Three: Write. Write everyday. In the morning or at night. Make goals. 8-10 pages a week. Or 2 pages a day. Whatever it takes. Just do it.
Step Four: Don’t reach your goals. Not all of them, anyway. But don’t worry. They’re just a guideline.
Step Five: Take breaks. It is summer after all. You’re supposed to be having some kind of fun. Go swimming, plan your next chapter. Go out for a drink, eavesdrop. Listen for interesting quotes or stories you can slip into your novel.
Step Six: Write down everything. Picture this–you’re hanging out with friends. You come up with a brilliant idea. A new novel thread, maybe. A “C” storyline, but still. Walk away from the group. Write it down, because you will forget.
Step Seven: Read. Read novels like yours. Read memoirs of dead rock stars. Read Rob Lowe’s book. Read the paper and letters from your mom. Keep absorbing. It will creep into your subconscious and make you smarter.
Step Eight: Finish. Hopefully by Labor Day, but probably not. At least you tried. Either way, your first draft is done. Yay! You did it!
Step Nine: Edit. Because you’re not really done. You have to read your manuscript until you’re dizzy. Move commas. Change character names, hair colors and mannerisms. Cut your favorite paragraph. Save it for the back cover.
Step Ten: You’re done! Dance around in your room. Enjoy all of the acceptance letters.