Writing: Don’t worry about how long it takes!

I had something really nice scheduled for this weeks post, but instead of peanut butter cookies, a perfect treat for all us writers may I just add, I’ve decided to write this!

I always find that writing is the easiest way for me to express myself, and even make me decide what’s best in some situations. This time, it’s all about how long it takes for you to finish your novel, or anything in life really (perhaps your saving for a house, a dream holiday, perhaps your working your ass off for a promotion you think your never going to get). It all boils down to one thing.

For me, it’s all about my ‘finished’ manuscript. These last couple of weeks, I’ve come to the conclusion that my current WIP needs a revamp. I know, in an older blog post that I said that you never know when your novel is finished, not really, and that sometimes, you have to stop and take it to the next level, and I did that, I finally sent it out to agents, even got my first rejection letter, but I don’t know if it’s the books I’ve been reading lately, or just the doubts in my head that are trying to tell me that I need to take that step back.

I put my heart and soul in to ‘Tales of Monsters’, the first manuscript of four that I will finish some day, and there’s things in there that I could never change, things and people that are going to stay in there forever, but now I’ve been focusing on writing the second book (which I had already started writing, maybe three or so years ago) I’ve realised even more, as the story is progressing, that there are more inconsistencies in my plot, that some niggily little things just don’t add up, and they might be small in the first book, but in the second book, their so much more important than I’d thought they be.

Also, the more I write, the more I learn about this world.

I know it doesn’t help that I introduced a whole new group of characters, almost like an alternate story line about five drafts in, and before that, this character (and all the others who were never meant to be) wasn’t going to be introduced until maybe the third book, but, in the grand scheme of things, and the place he ends up, I needed to get to know him much sooner than I thought.

This story just started off as a Princess being chased from a burning castle, being chased by monsters and bandits, and all the bad, horrible things, and then ending up where she still ends up. It was all going to be about her and her journey, but she’s not the sort of person (or character, or whatever) to lead this sort of thing, and I only realised that as I got to know her more. I love her, but, the more I wrote, the more I understood where this was all going to end up.

It turned in to so much more than I could ever have imagined, includes so many things I thought it would never include. I built a whole world, or at least five Kingdoms, all with different people, all with different beliefs, all with different prophecies and ethics and morals, and I love what I’ve written in the first book, but I need to go back to it, I need to do that one last draft.

It is still out there in the literary agent world, festering in their inboxes, and we’ll just have to see how it goes. It’s not changing dramatically at any rate, I’ll probably have to cut about 40,000 words anyway, so I might as well start now.

‘Tales of Monsters’ might not be the first book I publish, I have so many idea’s for other novels and ‘stand alones’ that maybe they’ll beat her to it, but I love it enough to never give up on it! Even if I don’t ever publish it, it will be finished one way or another.

I’m also thinking of going down the route of beta readers. I use my parents and family, but I think I need to stop being so worried and just put it out there more. So, if anyone likes a bit of fantasy, a little bit of magic, some deadly prophecies and a bit of doom and gloom (more adult than YA I think, but still probably okay to read if your a bit younger), then send me a pm or leave a comment, and when I’ve finished with the edit, I’ll send it over to you!

For now, I think I’ll just keep posting little snippets of my story – the ones that are there to stay – on my instagram (jlmwrites) – and trying to better explain what this whole world I created is all about. It’s amazing how inspirational it can be creating pictures and drawings for the world your created, and having the support from other writers that are in the same boat as you (and obviously start working on that ‘final’ draft).

I guess what I’m trying to say is not to get discouraged, whether it’s because it takes so long to plan it, write it, edit it; whether it’s not working, you can’t find the time, or the motivation. If you believe in the end result, if you can put your hand on your heart and say that you can and will give your all to this book, then keep going, it might take five years, it might take even longer, but when it’s meant to happen, it will.

Also, don’t feel bad about realising that you might have to take a step backwards, whether it’s rewriting a chapter, the whole book, rethinking a whole plot idea or just, anything, you’ll get there in the end if you believe in yourself.

You can’t rush art, and don’t rush something that’s important to you. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. Don’t compare yourself to that person who finished their manuscript, they went through everything your feeling right now. You are not alone, and most things in life never go to plan, so don’t worry so much about that finish line, enjoy your writing, because if you stop enjoying it, if you worry too much, it may turn in to something you resent, and that’s the last thing you want!

Just keep writing, don’t give up and like I said, when it’s meant to happen, it will. It doesn’t matter how long, just that you keep going!

I Finished my Novel…

I’ve been writing for years, and although, I’ve made tons of first drafts, I’ve finally finished a peice that I am happy to share! It took seven years, god knows how many drafts and 105,477 words to finish and I can’t explain how fulfilled I feel.

Now, my next aim is to get it published.

I’m not sure if I’m ready for the rejection letters to start coming, but even world-class authors were rejected at first, so maybe I have a chance!

Although, it does depend on whether or not I find the right words to put in to a synopsis. I’m sure someone said once that writing is a breeze compared to writing the synopsis…

However, I’ll be sure to share it with all of you! Here’s to the next step. Hopefully it doesn’t take as long this time!

Although for the moment, I’m going to try and rest my brain, read some books and maybe start writing the next tale in the story.

My Writing Journey So Far…

This piece is an insight in to some writing projects I did as a kid and my main WIP, which I am on the cusp of finishing.

I have been writing stories ever since I was small. It was a way for me to escape and create, and even though my childhood wasn’t terrible, I never really had many friends, so I guess, spent my days writing about all the adventures I wanted to go on.

My first big project, from what I can remember, was a series of short stories on ‘The Adventures of Taffy and Friends’. It was handwritten with ‘lovely’ illustrations by my younger self and based on my old German shepherd. I think it’s what cemented my way in to writing.

I also made some little picture books on the story of a saber-tooth cat and his family.

The next big project I would undertake, was a 52? page book about me living on a farm and showing horses. It was called Show Girl, and it was followed by another two books of a similar size. I’ve never ridden a horse before, so I have no idea where the idea came from.

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Just before I started writing this, we had just got internet for the first time, and I was fascinated by being able to google photos of anything and slot them in to my story. However, when I look back at it now, I cringe. I also remember my Nan falling asleep while reading it. I don’t know if it was just old lady syndrome, or if it was just really terrible.

It’s very obvious that I was a girl going in to teen-hood whilst writing this. Some of the scenes are so bad, and so unrealistic, I don’t know what I was thinking…

Since then, I’ve moved on to things I hope I will not be so scared about showing another human being. I’ve wrote some short stories, and wrote some first chapters for some novels, but my next big project would be something that I still work on to this day, even if my main WIP takes over most of the time. I think I started writing what I ended up calling ‘The Banished Series’ in late 2006/early 2007.

I remember that at the time, life was really hard and loads of stuff was happening. I wasn’t happy and I needed something to get my mind off of all the bad. So, I looked up at my bedroom ceiling and I asked for an idea. Low and behold, a dream came to me and I was able to turn it in to a novel. I wrote drafts of two books and outlined the third, and even though it’s not finished yet, it gave me that escape that I needed. It’s something I’ll go back to, but more because I want to know how the story goes than anything.

My present WIP, ‘Tales’, I’ve been working on for about six, maybe seven years now. It all started with an idea I got whilst playing Skyrim and my character was stood there, sucking up the soul of a dragon. I’ve always loved olden day games (Fable is my favourite), so I thought I’d give it a crack at writing a story based in medieval times, which over time has turned in to so much more. In the last few months alone, I’ve incorporated qualities from Celts, Saxons, Vikings and Romans.

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Its unbelievable how much it’s changed over the last six years. It’s had a few name changes, a few people killed and brought back to life, a few people killed that I hadn’t intended to kill at all, and I’ve learnt so much about writing that I think it may be the first one that I could give to the world to read.

I know six years may seem like a long time, but as always, life get’s in the way. I had school, college, university, and grown-up stuff to do like going to work and worrying about bills, but it was also because I wasn’t in a rush to finish it. My life was a bit too all over the place and full of drama to be able to do anything with it if I did.

My WIP is a series that has been outlined in to approximately five books, with the first novel having been through seven drafts and the second being on it’s first. I’ve also got future scenes jotted down in my journal and on various pieces of paper here, there and everywhere.

I’ve went through many styles of writing, with the one now being the one I think I’ll stick too. I’m not an overly descriptive writer, I don’t think. I like to get to the point and not ramble (which I realise I have done a lot of here, but it isn’t a book, so it’s okay); but keep a bit of mystery in there as well. I like my characters to be just as confused as the reader.

The most important thing I’ve learnt, other than my style, is that I shouldn’t limit myself to my main WIP. If an idea strikes me for another novel or a short story, I’ll take time out to write it a bit, even if it’s just an outline so I can go back to it later. I find writing other things, whether it’s a piece inspired by a prompt, a blog post on your favourite thing or a baking recipe, it all helps you develop your style and gives you a break, meaning writers block doesn’t come as easily. I’ve found that having a writing journal handy works well for me, and even though I have a make-shift index page at the front, I just use sticky tabs to make the mess easier to navigate.

Maybe in the last year or so, writing took a step back. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to do it, but more because my life was so hectic, with work, university and family issues, that I needed time for other things. But now, I’m back in my rhythm again and I feel like I’m actually getting somewhere.

Although, at one point, I did almost give up because I lost about sixty pages worth of story because I didn’t press the save button. It happened a second time, but atleast I was only editing this time.

For me, I think my worst fear is it not being good enough. Which I think might stop a lot of authors in their tracks, but you never know, there might be someone out there waiting to read a book just like yours, and one smile is better than nothing.

I’m currently on the cusp of finishing my final draft of the first book, and now I finally have a grasp on how I want the series to flow and sound, I think the next few won’t take so long. It’s a been a very long learning curve, but I think I needed it.

Maybe in a couple months, I’ll be able to write a blog post saying that I’ve finally submitted my novel to a literary agent or publisher, and be able to tell you about all the trouble I had writing the synopsis and cover letters, because, I think, that’ll be harder than writing the book itself.

🙂