I have been writing for the last three years. The first year was just because I wanted to get my story down, so it still seemed like a hobby. However, I fell in love with it, so tons of research later on great writers, destroyed first drafts because I knew I sucked, and asking myself what the hell I thought I was doing, I finally decided to take it as a job and so the next two years consisted of me writing every single day, and working on various projects. I finished the third a few days ago and now have a monstrous stack of papers on my desk.
It’s paper porn; I look at it and tell myself that I’m not as lazy as I think, but unfortunately that joy only lasts for a few days before I have to put it away or start editing it because not doing anything with it makes me feel even more lazy. Did I mention that I finished that in about four weeks?Its about 90,000 words but don’t get impressed yet, read on.
I foresee a lot of digressions in this post and I don’t want to hit you with a novella on all that I’ve been through with writing so for today, I’ll just zoom in on a summary of the journey so far, and a few thoughts at the end. I’ll zoom in on the writing process, editing and everything else in later posts.
I suck at writing summaries so to avoid the temptation of too many words, I’ll use bullet points. forgive me.
- I started the first book with a huge notebook and a pen, found out my experience didn’t look as good on paper as it he felt in my heart, so I abandoned the draft after two months of intensive writing.
- I didn’t give up because the dream was still forming in my heart and it had a sweet ache, so I started researching. Stephen King’s “On Writing” did a number on me.
- I read other bestselling books and decided to try again but this time, thinking outside the box and writing from a fictional perspective. After another two months of intense brainstorming, I cried, because I had no ideas that I liked.
- So like I do when I’m stuck, i prayed about it, one day when I decided I was going to stop wasting time wallowing. I got the ideas that day and instantly began working.
- One year later, I had a complete draft at 75, 000 words. People loved it, I wasn’t sure, so the next year, I pushed it aside and started another book.
- I wrote 1000 words everyday for three months and at the end had 80,000 words.
- i edited that, sent queries to as many agents as I could, received a request for the full, but was rejected.
- I kept on trying, because giving up was not an option so now, I’m pretty familiar with rejections as are all writers. It’s a love-hate relationship.
- So I brought out my first novel, brushed it up and sent queries out again. Most haven’t responded till now, the ones that have, said thanks but no thanks.
- So I got upset and decided to self publish. I talked myself out of it.
- i sent out more queries then one day, was going through lists of new agents to send to but from somewhere the thought dropped into my head; how long are you going to plead with people to take a risk on you. First of all take it on yourself.
- So like I always do I researched, and found that a lot of authors started through that route, took a risk on themselves, and when it payed off, they didn’t have to beg anyone to help them. The publishers came running.
- So that’s what I did. The book will be released on the 28th of April, and yes, I am terrified. But it doesn’t matter because this is my dream and I am finally doing something about it.
- The third book I wrote in four weeks because it is the sequel to the first and I need it ready before the first goes live because I hate working under pressure.
The point of all this?
Writing a book is hard work, but trust me, unless you’re not like the rest of us, you’ll soon find out that that’s the easiest part. It’s like drawing a rough sketch; A very rough one where at the end of the day, your eraser will take away more than half of it. To me, rewriting and editing is what the job is all about, and it is the worst and best part of the process. That is if you want to bring out the best that you possibly can.
To get my four weeks goal, I had to write up to 5000 words a day, sometimes I met it, most times I didn’t. It would have been finished in two weeks if I had.
But now the part that I can’t boot leg, is the editing and that is going to take me a very long time. And because I am a perfectionist, unless I set a date for its release I can edit forever and never be satisfied.
This is what I want you to know today. That writing is a job, one that if you’re serious about, can only take you anywhere when it becomes a priority. I wished I had the luxury of traditional publishing where I can have up to a year or two to work on one book but I don’t. However, it is not an excuse to not rise to the occasion because so many have done it, and you can too.
There is little talent involved in all of this so don’t use that as an excuse either. It all depends on your dedication, your willingness to work your butt off to become the very best, no matter what it takes, no matter how many disappointments that come your way,
this is what makes it a marathon and not a sprint. A journey and not a trip.
When you expect it to be the latter you will give up. I have little sympathy when aspiring writers complain or tell me that they’re going to give up. What else did you expect? That you’d sell one book and become a millionaire?
Well in their defense I did expect this too, and im not ruling out the possibility (hehe) but my point is that even if it doesn’t happen, I have started the race, and more than anything your determination to finish it is what will get you there! I’ve given up more times than I can count, tore my hair out, and told myself that I was insane to be following my heart. However, seconds later, I’m back to facing whatever challenge has overwhelmed me at that moment, because I decided when I turned nineteen that this was what I was going to do. Giving up has long stopped being an option, and I hope in some way that this can help you too.
Thank you for reading all that. I foresee a series here but let’s see how it goes.
Also I have been pondering on what to read next. Any suggestions?