Now that book 3 in the Charity Graves series is almost done and will be going to the publisher after my final review, I want to talk about something that has been difficult in my writing journey… the process.
For me, writing the book is the easy part. It’s what comes after that is more challenging.
First of all, I’m married to a man who has a background in project planning, finance, and business, so everything needs to be systematic to meet expectations. As an author who wants to meet personal deadlines, this makes sense to me, but as an artist, that doesn’t always work for me. Every step along my journey I’ve been trying to refine my process, but sometimes I don’t know if I’m moving in the right direction or backwards.
Book 1: Secrets in Mystic Woods
I spent about four years hand writing this book on journals. I even found an old journal I misplaced when I started writing it the first time. I had a bunch of writers block, self doubt, should I even write this, slow moving, only writing after the baby goes to bed. It took me four years to write only 60,000 words.
Then I typed it up, got it to 80,000 words.
Looked for an editor, found one from twitter, spent a bunch of money on it, after it being rejected from a bunch of publishers, found a publisher and sent my book off.
After it was published it was still filled with errors. I paid a ton of money for a book that had some serious mistakes. At least I was published! It’s a good story that stemmed from a dream I had. It’s a series because I couldn’t shove it all into one book. Then it was on to marketing. I’m not really sure how to do this part. I didn’t think that far ahead. I was just excited to get the book out there. I spent money on a website and here we are. I slowed down on blogging because I was focused on writing and all the other daily stuff normal people do. I learned a lot and thought, I need a better process.
Book 2: Journey Through Darkness
My husband and I talked about how to do this better. I was already halfway through the second book because I initially made it part of the first. Once I wrote out the story, as usual, I was short 20,000 words. The 80,000 word mark is a general guideline for the genre I write and it helps me flush out more detail if needed. My husband knew a guy from work who somehow had a background in technical editing. He talked to this person about my book and suggested we talk.
The book was edited piece by piece. During this time my devices (the iPad I was using when I had breaks at work and my laptop at home) weren’t connecting the updates that were made and it took me twice as long to finish my work because I had to do it twice. In the meantime my editor is wondering why things aren’t accepted or updating. I’m a noob trying to learn, trusting people in the industry and I’m already skeptical because the first time around, despite all the professionals I was paying, many mistakes were made. I’m a frustrated mess, but I try to trust the process and we finish book 2 with a huge read through for last minute changes that turned into a stressful book club. The process for book 2 did take longer after the book was written, but the product was much better. This editor was more affordable and more thorough than the first. It goes to the publisher, it takes about 6 months to a year to get the book published. In the meantime I decide to outline the third book and start writing.
Book 3: Guided by Moonlight
I outlined the third book. Wrote the third book. I now have a writing schedule 3 days a week from 8pm to midnight. There were plenty of nights I felt tired, had writers block, began doubting that my third book would be as good as the first two because we changed the process. Self doubt sucks. I know that I’m a good writer and I have no reason to doubt myself. I was listening to so much advice from so many people that were already invested in my book. I read through and changed my rough draft a half a dozen times before I allowed anyone else to read it. I give my book to beta readers to review before the editor. Then the editor, then another read through. I’m finishing up all the edits and need to get it to the publisher next week. Then we wait… another year.
I need to find a better way to do this. I love to write these books! I love writing. I just need a smoother process and since I’m the author, I need to trust in myself and my own decisions.
Writing is a journey, writing is a process. Editing and writing are different and sometimes it takes a long time. Nothing good was ever easy.