The mistakes I’ve made

Why didn’t someone warn me?

I had one of those holy crap moments. The kind that stops you in your tracks, where you question why the heck you’re putting yourself through this. Will it improve my quality of life? Is it essential to my wellbeing? What does becoming a ‘Published Author’ mean to me?

The answer is SATISFACTION — pure and simple. 

It will be an acknowledgment that my artistic creation is worthy of being in print. That I persevered in the face of adversity (the publishing minefield). I achieved what I set out to do. 

So, I needed to get myself into the right mindset. First, a hot cup of coffee (the elixir of calm persistence), my purple pen for good luck and stylish appeal and some soft background music. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. I was now ready to look at my situation through rose-tinted glasses. 

First up …The Book……or manuscript (because technically it hasn’t been printed yet). But let’s call it the Book because it makes me feel happier.

During my youthful hormonal evolution, historical romances were my favourite read. Actually, any love story with a happy ending was my thing. I quickly recognised the prescribed formula for this genre and thought “hey, I can write one of these”.

Nope. Failed! I’m too practical to engage in the cat and mouse games required in the typical romance novel. It didn’t enthuse me enough to keep me motivated as a writer I quickly accepted without regret that I didn’t have the personality for romance writing and moved on. 

I thought about a Suspense Thriller. A very fleeting thought I might add, I love this genre. I appreciate anything that keeps me guessing until the end, but to write such a twisted plot for my first venture would consume me, so I moved to my other reading passion. Maybe later I’ll come back and give this a try.

Fantasy. Bingo, I had my genre.

Many years ago, I had an idea for a book and when I was finally ready to put it down on paper, my initial concepts had matured into the developed characters I have today. Picking up my writing tools, I started at A and ended at Z. I didn’t map out the story chapter by chapter and yet it still flows logically. It spilled out on to paper with only flexible guidelines and limited restrictions. I discovered the story as I wrote it (Hmmmmh. Interesting way to write).

Synopsis? … don’t make me laugh. Yeah, I learnt this word during my google excursions. A proposal for a book from beginning to end. I literally had to read my book just to document what happened in each chapter. 

“Rookie mistake” you say. Well, that’s not even listed at the top of my list of mistakes I’ve made. 

Topping the Mistake List is (drum roll)……. hand writing my draft manuscript. 

Yep, that was me. The romanticized version of the struggling writer studiously writing their masterpiece while sitting in a coffee shop or café. I was proud of myself at the time.

Then the realisation of the enormous task I had set myself hit me. The bones of my story needed to be transferred to my computer. I couldn’t justify paying someone, although it crossed my mind on numerous occasions especially when I work on computers all day. I kept telling myself, I can do this. It won’t take me that long (I obviously had no idea what I was talking about).

Have you ever looked at your own writing and wondered what the heck? Looked at the word from different angles and even attempted to anticipate what you were trying to say by reading the sentence before it… and still nothing? Yeah, that was also me. Some days my writing was just a scribbled mess. Luckily, it was a first draft so I could improvise and keep going.

What should have taken me weeks, took months. Did I mention that I worked on computers all day? There were days when turning on my home computer was the last thing on my mind. 

Eventually I made it to the end (but no rest for the wicked or stupid, as the case may be). I still had to flesh it out, warm it up and give it life. More months rolled by. I did an editing sweep before passing it to my daughter, Miss Grammarly. Part way through the book she got caught up in the story and forgot to make amendments. She did it for free, so can’t complain (not too much anyway). I made some changes and let it sit for a few more weeks.

You may notice that weeks become months that rollover into a year or more. But that’s life, especially when you have a family and a full-time job to manage. My Book unfortunately got moved down the list of priorities for a while, but it’s slowly worked back up the ranking.

The Book now sits on my desk whisper yelling at me: “Get me finished and Published”

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