I finished the first draft today. 68,000 words. This was a monumental task for me. I've never found a draft to be so hard to get out. Which means working on the second draft won't be a piece of cake, either, but I'm excited to get into it and see how I can make Terra's story better.
Going into the sequel, I thought, "Oh, how hard can a sequel be?" New flash...very hard! I was under the misunderstanding that having characters in place and knowing how I wanted the story to develop would make this a cinch. Nope. Anything but. I've never worked so hard for a story in my life.
The first half was really hard to write. The second started flowing a lot easier and went pretty fast. So I'm betting the first half will need quite a bit of work. So as I read through this first draft, I'll be interested to see how many times I'll tell myself, "What were you thinking?!"
So hopefully the second draft won't be quite as arduous as the first, but I'm planning on quite a bit of work for it.
After the second draft, then I'll send it to my beta readers and see how many times they also say "What were you thinking?!" That's the beauty of beta readers. They tell it to you straight (if you have good beta readers) and make the story infinitely better than you could on your own.