I Almost Gave Up On My Book

Writing is a largely thankless and daunting task. One that many dive into for no reason other than the fact that deep, deep down they know without a doubt that their words are meant to be written. Their stories just need to be told. It always amazes me how many writers press on through the day to day discouragement, though many times alone.

A few months ago, I almost quit the book I’ve been working on for almost two years now.

What might have brought me to this point, you may ask?

Well, if you’ve read any of my posts about my hopeless computer (which hates me by the way), you will know that multiple times now the hard drive has failed. And, like a person stuck in a bad relationship, I keep coming back for more thinking that this time maybe it will be different. As a result of my stubborn hopefulness, my work has been all but lost many times. And then, my computer genius of a husband swoops in to save the day and restore everything to working order.

But even Superheroes have a limit.

After the third time this happened, I could no longer blame my computer or excuse these unfortunate events as ignorance on my part. It was plain stupidity to not back up my files. My frustrated husband understandably took extra time trying to find the files and reinstall my writing program. In fact, that he was willing to do it yet again is a testimony of his love for me. But, in the meantime (for about six months) I was unable to work on my story.

At first, I saw this as a curse…

Until I recently read my book, I kid you not, written by somebody else. Now, I had heard of the well known series whose author seemed to read my mind…and hadn’t a hot clue what it was about until reading it this summer.

Reading that series crushed me, for the author had basically “copied” the main idea of my super “original” novel (ok I know, I know… it wasn’t copying me as it was published and written LONG before I came up with the idea…but still!)

It was as if the author had jumped into my head and completely taken my ideas out of context and then, to make matters worse, put a very disgusting romance in the mix with a touchy-feely couple that annoyed me to tears and made me want to throw up all at once.

And after reading her series, I seriously contemplated deleting mine. Who wants to be known as the author who tried to copy a hit series?? Who would even want to publish a work that seems so eerily similar to another…that almost everyone has already read?!? (Except for yours truly apparently).

Sigh.

I was about to delete it, but then, thankfully my thirteen year old boy begged me not to.

“I don’t care if you don’t publish it,” he said, “I still want to read it!”

That, my friends, is why every author needs a team behind them. His words sent me on a new mission: To salvage what I could of the originality story line and characters in my book and to make just enough changes that it won’t be mistaken for a “wanna be” version of another series. And it was this very situation, ironically, that helped me to overcome my six month “writing pause”.

The book that I am currently working on is the first in a three part series about a dangerous ideology regarding child-rearing and one mans “solution to the problem”. Macy Grale, knows something is amiss in the city named after the famous Dr. Jacob Slone, which was built upon his Five Foundational Truths. But only when she meets the doctor who brought her into the city, does she unlock the past secrets that haunt her dreams and discover for herself why Slone City is destined to collapse. Macy must use her gift of writing to open the eyes of the world around her to the truth behind the walls of Slone, reminding them of the importance of love, family and beauty.

After many hours, I am so close to being done, I can almost taste it. Today I finally printed out the first of many drafts and quickly sketched up a cover (which will be digitally improved upon of course)!

And you, my faithful readers will be the very first people to see it:

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There it is people! My first draft, with many, many errors, I’m sure! But it’s there. And that’s what matters.

If you have any experience on what my next steps should be in getting this published, PLEASE help me!! I know nothing about editing or publishing so I need your advice!

Thank you to all who have been so encouraging and supportive on my blog! This book wouldn’t have happened without you.

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A Short Summer, A Long Bucket List and Three Half Finished Novels…

Summer is almost over.

Since when do I literally panic at those words?!? I have a real desire to move somewhere hot for September, October and November and live in denial that it will ever end.

Summer in Canada is ridiculously short, but like most things, that’s what makes it so irresistibly sweet. We bear through a bitter six months of winter – half hibernating, half shriveling away in the arctic air and then after being soaked in the rain for a month or two, we finally can enjoy SUMMER. Children burst out of their homes, not a minute to lose! Playgrounds which were eerily empty and abandoned for the frosty months come to life. White legs stampede to the beaches. We book our holidays months in advance, being sure to make the most of every single second.

For the past two years, my kids and I have made a summer bucket list. It’s nothing crazy, no big life changing events are on the list, but it’s about 25 activities long and therefore, always is a rush to complete.

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This time, however, it isn’t so much the weather change that I am dreading, or even failing to check off every box on our list; it’s the realization that summer is almost gone and with it another year of my failed goal: to finish my first novel.

Oh, by the way, I am writing a book.

Actually three.

Cue the awkward pause as people nod politely and change the subject…

And in many ways I don’t blame themPublishing a novel and making any sort of career out of it, never mind actually becoming a bestselling author is almost like a child claiming they’ll grow up to be a movie star…😏 “Mmmhmmm, sure sweetie, you do that!”

Yet I have had this desire from the moment I could write words on a page and form them into something resembling a sentence.

I remember writing my first story in grade 2. My peers wrote their opening words, the only ones that could possibly be used to start a story at that age: “Once upon a time…” And I knew even then that that didn’t cut it. Already, at age seven, I knew that wasn’t the way to write a book. Not a good one. I still remember my teacher’s surprise when she read my opening line: “The sun shone warmly on little Jessica’s face, her dark hair blowing in the summer breeze…”  I remember her reading it to the class, devouring my writing as if it were a rare exotic treat. I felt gifted, as if I were a prodigy of writing, sure to blow the rest of the world away with my cleverly thought out plots and well-structured sentences. Only to find out in my teens that I actually had a long way to go before I would ever publish my work.

But maybe that’s why I’ve always loved it. It’s challenging, and still relaxing for me. It takes effort, yet is in some ways rather effortless. Not to mention, it is also the only talent I ever remember being noticed for in school.

But the funny thing is, I’ve never finished a full novel.  I’ve had countless ideas, some that eventually fell rather flat, some that took off. Until, well… I got near the end.  Every single time I’ve come close to finishing, I give up.  Eventually, after years of sitting in an unopened file on my computer I click delete.

I don’t really know why. But it’s as if I fear what will happen if I finish. So I finish…then what?

Perhaps, it’s partly because I think it’s childish, this dream to write.  Because writing isn’t a real job, right? More like an eccentric hobby for the most lonely of introverts, those crazy ones, who’ve never quite given up their childish imagination.

But even scarier to me is the thought that keeps plaguing me: If I do in fact finish it, will anyone actually read my book? Will they have any interest? Or will I finally be publicly exposed for the wannabe writer that I really am? Should I just grow up already and let go of my childish dreams?

However this time, I am further than I’ve ever been before. In all three books. And even though I’ve been working on them for months (ok one of them I’ve been working on for years!), I feel like I actually really like my work. I am proud of the writing I’ve done. And I feel like others may like them as well.

So summer, please stay a little longer. Don’t hurry away. Let the days slow down and the workload pause. Let me finish the bucket list. Let me enjoy my kiddos. Let me finish my novels. Ok, maybe just one of them.

Because I really want to know how it ends, and, even more so, if others will enjoy reading it as much as I do.