I read a blog post this morning where the blogger looked back on what she had written a year ago. I got curious as to what I was doing a year ago so I took a look at my own posts. Here’s what I found from October 2nd, 2010:
Here’s today’s hard reality of being a writer. Sometimes the projects you spend two years of blood, sweat and tears on don’t end up published. Sometimes, they don’t even end up finished. My first novel is currently going into this bucket. I made this decision subconsciously a couple of months ago but I wasn’t really ready to let my baby go. I’ve spent two full years on it, still believe in the idea, still love my characters and eventually will return to it. But, because I love it so much I’m not willing to use it as my “first” and thus major learning experience. So, I’m shelving it… for now. I’ve spent the last couple of months editing and finding more work than I thought to get it up to par and ready to write the ending. I still know where it ends and how, just have to finish the re-write of what’s already written so I can finish it up at some point. For now, I’m switching gears and preparing for this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which starts November 1st. This time (my third) I’m going in armed with another year’s worth of learning and knowledge about how to write better and will spend October coming up with an outline so I am better prepared. I am not sad, I’m being real. And if talking to other writers this year and learning from them has taught me nothing else, it is that it takes writing many completed books to finally figure out how the whole process works. Getting caught up and overly attached to one project over another just sets you up for disappointment. So, I’ve tried my hand at urban fantasy – this year I’m tackling a straight out fictional work. We’ll see how I like it since I don’t even know what “my” genre is yet.
So here we are today… Last year I was ready to shelf my novel and in fact tried to do just that. What I got was a failed attempt at last year’s NaNoWriMo where I languished halfheartedly with a new idea and eventually went back to my original one – the darling I cannot kill. Then, thanks to my writer’s group and my friend’s editor, I discovered another layer of the toolbox of the writing craft that I didn’t even know I didn’t now about. Now I have a completed plot structure with completely different characters, a new twist, new motivations, the works. And I am going to finish the damn thing before I move on. I haven’t spent this long world building and figuring out how my characters really tick just to throw it away or shelf it before it’s done. Besides, I tried that and the characters rebelled.
I’ve done so much research and learning recently; I am a different writer than two months ago. On tap for this October is expanding on my plot structure by outlining basic scenes (and sequels) so I can hit the ground running. I’ll finally be equipped to complete a first draft during this year’s NaNoWriMo in November since this time I am even more prepared than in years past.
Do I have illusions that this will be the first novel I publish? It would be nice but I know it probably won’t be. However, I will still learn by finishing it and then revising, and querying and all the other things that go into the job of becoming a published writer. And then I’ll start another story and another and at some point I’ll really know enough to get a publishing deal so I can then call myself an author instead of ‘just’ a writer. Here’s to another year of chasing the dream with all the hard work it takes to make it happen… may I live through it and still enjoy it.