This post is the last part of this story, a look back to time when I actually began drafting my WIP – and how I got involved with real writing, not just thinking about it or writing demo chapters out of nowehere.
As I said in the previous post, I started the drafting stage on 23.10.2015. It was at that point when I created some first guess on when I’d like to be done: first book in three years since the demo (21.7.2018) with three-year gaps for the sequels. If you read my blogs for a while, you know that initial and clueless schedule has been torn apart long ago. All that remains is my wish to have the whole trilogy done for 21.7.2025 – 10 years since I started.
The hard beginnings (23.10.2015 – 26.11.2016)
Look up a list saying what you should not do as a beginning writer. I made all those mistakes – and many more. Cluelessly dabbling in a craft I knew nothing about, learning on the go… that was how I worked in the early days. I’ve been editing what I just wrote instead of going on, shuffling chapter ends (for chapters that did not live to see the beta draft), and giving far too much time to matters that are insignificant in the first draft. But I had fun, even though I did not know what I’d do with the story.
In late March or early April (not sure) 2016, I bought a Kindle – which was a small step at the moment but would eventually nudge me in a direction I did not expect. Until that moment, I knew nothing at all about the existence of digital self-publishing or the fact it’s a viable way to share stories – but more on that later.
So, in late November 2016, I finished the first draft – and I still had very vague understanding of all this writing thing. But that was about to change…
A change of strategy (2017)
I made some minor edits after finishing the first draft but my lack of understanding led me to go on writing the sequel instead of focus on editing the to-be book one. In hindsight, this might’ve been the first good decision I’ve made when it comes to writing: by focusing on having the story complete first, I would have the whole picture and maybe it’d help me with further work on the individual books.
And it was around that time I accepted there might be an actual book, after all. It was around this time I began reading self-published books on my Kindle and realized I might eventually take this route.
I’ve started this blog in summer 2017 and it eventually led me to some people whose advice kept nudging me forward and honing my clueless craft (so, if you’re someone I follow, HUGE thanks to you! I would not be here without you).
The learning curve (2018 – onwards)
I won’t share the countless draft milestones, they’d be just boring numbers. What I will share is something else: since I started being more active on Goodreads (by taking part in discussions) and by following other writers here on WordPress (thank you one more time), I’ve realized how little I learned during the clueless dabbling by trial-and-error writing I’ve been doing so far.
I think it was the fifth draft of #1 that was not completely awful and riddled with all the writing don’ts – It was only the fourth draft that had seen the first significant cuts and the fifth that had seen some work towards adverb purge and sentence structure adjustments. I still have a lot of work to do on show, don’t tell and head-hopping as the most glaring issues and the flow is still far from perfect… FOUR years after I started. I still struggle with doubts and stage fright.
I’ve made progress, though. And that’s what counts. I have the trilogy-to-be story-complete and now it’s down to polishing, whatever time it takes.
As I said at the very beginning: I never planned to go down this route. But I had gained some goal: to eventually become a self-published writer. It’s hard to guess if I’d get there if something happened differently.
Would I give writing a try if I grew some balls an asked her out back in 2008? If I gave up on hiking before 2010 and thus never come to the idea of just wandering the hills alone? If I gave up thinking about the story as a distraction in 2013-2014? If I quit World of Warcraft before that fateful night in summer 2015? If I never bought a Kindle – and thus never realized that self-publishing exists?
No one will ever answer these questions but no one ever will change the past. I am here and when I set my feet on this route, I’ll do my best to walk it to the finish line. Even though the first real milestone, publishing of the first book, is still months away, I am unlikely to give up after all I’ve done so far.
So, thanks to everyone who gave me even a small tip or words of encouragement. And thank you for reading as well.
Feel free to comment, ask questions, or share your own experiences. And see you the next time.