The Good, the Bad, and the…Struggling?

Wow, it’s been exactly six months since my last post. Perhaps I should make that my routine, posting twice a year. I always think I’m going to post more than I do, but I find that life gets in the way.

I’m not writing this post just to fill a quota, I actually have something I want to say. I have been writing consistently for awhile now and I found myself reflecting on what’s been going on. Even though things are going great now, they hadn’t been. So, I thought I’d share what’s been happening since October, maybe someone would find it useful.

Back in October, I decided I was really and truly going to pursue a writing career. I refer to myself as a writer, but I don’t really have anything substantial to show for it. I wrote a novel, the first in a planned quartet when I was 22, but I hadn’t been able to do it again. I’d written short stories and worked on other ideas, but that was it. The closest I had come to writing another book was almost two years later, when I was 24, I was planning a standalone. I had a detailed outline, so detailed I knew what happened in each chapter, but when I sat down to write it, I had lost interest in it. In writing the outline I had already written the story in my head, I didn’t feel the need to write it on paper.

Fast forward to October 2020 when I decided I was really going to try again. I made a very ambitious plan for myself. I wanted to write a trilogy in six months. Now I don’t know if that’s unrealistic, I don’t have enough experience to know whether I was setting myself up for failure. I thought I could do it, even with everything else I had to juggle. So, October was supposed to be my planning month. I tried using a new system (and pinterest!) to outline my books and series. I really like the method and maybe I’ll do another post about it some other time. One of the things I think I struggle with is pacing and with this new format, it really keeps me focused. I created a new document and began outlining the first book in my new trilogy, filling in some details for the other two books as well. But…

I struggled. A lot.

I liked the idea and putting together the pinterest board for it actually inspired a large part of the world I was building, but it didn’t seem to be working. I was trying to plan out my chapters, and I couldn’t seem to figure out which plot points had to go into which chapters. But, I refused to give up, chalking it up to rustiness. I finally had a rough, and I mean very rough, outline that I could at least start with. A lot of the reason I wanted to get it done was because I wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo. I thought I could finish the first novel in a month, no problem.

I started writing and surprise surprise, I struggled again. It took me nearly the entire month of November to write the first chapter, and I don’t even think I finished it by the end of the month. I’m not exactly sure when I finished the first chapter, I think it might have been December now that I think of it. The timing doesn’t matter as much as the difficulty I had trying to write this book. I decided to do something that I never thought I’d do, I gave up on it.

It was a very tough decision. I had to admit to myself that for whatever reason, it wasn’t working. Of course I was upset and panicked because I had said to myself that I was going to do this thing and now, three months later, I had failed. I wasn’t sure what to do, let the story sit awhile and come back to it with fresh eyes or let it go, maybe returning to it at some point in the future.

Ultimately, I decided to start something new and I love it.

I started worldbuilding in mid-January (another post I might have in the future) for the first book in a planned quartet, called QG for now. I used the same method for planning out the series and I found it so much easier, I have the first book planned and a lot of the second planned and big plot points for third and fourth books. This series required a lot more worldbuilding, I had to create a map and that was an experience. It took me many redraws and moving landforms, but I have a map of my fake country that I really love. From mid-January to nearly the end of March I really lived in my new world, and I enjoyed creating a history, a religion, and everything else that went into making that country what it is. I started writing the last Friday in March and it’s been a completely different experience. This Friday will be three full weeks of writing and I finished the third chapter yesterday and should finish the fourth chapter by the end of the week. I’m hoping to finish the first book by the end of May, but June would be my final deadline.

This post turned out to be way longer than I planned, I wanted to highlight my two different experiences, one positive, one negative, in the hopes that if someone stumbles upon my website that might find something helpful, or at least not feel alone. I really love my new series and I hope you all get to read it some day.

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