- Millie Thomas
This time last year...
This was originally posted on my old website as My Writing Journey: The Beginning, but I wanted to bring it over for nostalgia.
Hi! One of the main reasons I chose to start making a presence early-on in my writing journey was so that I could share all the ugly and hard parts of the process with other aspiring authors. Entering into a new world alone is scary! So, my hope was/is to create an open and candid experience with anyone that cares to join. Gird your loins! I'm about to ramble...
Why I started writing? After spending endless hours reading smut, my husband suggested (challenged) me to write some instead. Mainly, it was a ploy to get my nose out of my kindle and into something else.
December 2020 With two weeks off for Christmas holiday, I sat down and plotted out my first series. 5 stories following the O'Brien family starting with mom, Claire. After deciding on character names, minor back stories, and tropes, I started writing. You read that right! I had zero outline and no plot. Heck, I hadn't even looked up planning and plotting and outlining. I just wrote.
January - April I was able to get a basic story together and wrote the first 5 chapters. Then I got stuck. And then stuck turned into imposter syndrome. By this point, I thought I had an okay story but definitely didn't think people would actually like it or even want to read it.
May Everything changed in May. I had joined romance writer groups in April but had never really used them. Finally to a breaking point, I shared a venting post. I wasn't asking for betas or critic, I was simply letting out all the pent up frustration I was feeling as a new writer. But then people read what I had... and liked it! My confidence was renewed. So much so, I realized that the story didn't start early enough and went to write a brand new 4 chapters to add before the original 5. That venting post also brought me my new BFF. With renewed spirits and a fresh look at what I had already wrote, I pushed on and ended the month with more written in those 20 days than I had from December through April. Oh! I also decided that my original 5 book series wasn't going to work, so books 2-5 were pulled and saved for a future series. 2 new characters were introduced into this WIP and are now the new books 2 & 3.
June My goal was to have my draft completed and ready to go to betas by the end of June. After listening to a veteran author (one I admire greatly!) I decided to send out the first third of my work and see how the feedback was. Well, it led to the discovery that I was jumping between present and past tense, and the story read more as a play-by-play than a flowing story. Both are big no-no for an author! So, I paused moving forward and went back to fix tense errors. It took far too long, in my opinion.
July Still not finished or ready for the editor, I had to push her back, with the thought that I would be ready for edits by August. It didn't happen. A beta turned into a friend, then turned into my development soundboard. After what seemed to be an intense brainstorming session one weekend, chapter 1 and 2 were completely scrapped. A prologue and brand new chapters 1 and 2 were born. (Bigger and better than the ones before!)
August Writer's block sucked! The best way I can describe it is: My characters skipped ahead to their HEA and went on their honeymoon, leaving me with only a photo album and no captions to help move the story forward. It sucked! Like a lot! Self edits continued to drag on. Actually, edits turned into complete rewrites. As if struggling to write one draft was hard enough, trying using the same scenes (now considered my outline) and write all new material! As a former anti-writer, it sucked! Have I mentioned August sucked yet? No? Well, let's add on that I ended the month with a bombshell that my editor has no availability until December. *sigh* Why am I telling you all of this? If you are another aspiring author, it's to show you that you are not alone in the process. We are all going through the same BS and having the same bouts of imposter syndrome as you are. If you are a reader, well, I guess it's to show you that writers freak out sometimes. We fear that you won't like our work, that you'll deem it unreadable, or even, dare I say, garbage. If you've stuck with me to this point, thank you! I know I tend to ramble and sometimes don't make sense but *shrug* that's me.
Thank you so very much for sticking it out with me. Come back at the end of next month for another dive into the writing struggles and wins for the month of September!