Stranger Than Fiction: Progress Report!

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who can’t change their minds cannot change anything.”

Drum roll please… it’s finally happened!

No, I’ve not actually written any more of my story (yet!) but I have begun that lengthy planning process! The thing I’ve been telling myself to do for a hell of a long time. Go me!

Let’s give you the low down. I started my first novel around 2 years ago. I wrote an awful lot in a year, not really thinking about what I was doing. I was just so caught up in the moment and full of creativity that I simply didn’t want to stop. I had an awesome idea that I wanted to play around with and I needed to get everything down on paper as soon as possible. That’s how writers do things, right?

Oh, how wrong I was.

In a nutshell, I wrote 5 decent sized chapters, some of which I was more happy with than others. Then, guess what happened? Yep. My pot of creativity ran dry and I was left with literally no new ideas and no clue of which direction to go next. Urgh!

So, since that point, I’ve not really done much with my novel. I couldn’t even bring myself to read it again, as I was risking the chance of me hating what I’d written. There’s nothing worse than feeling that way as a writer. Having a total block and being unable to continue. However, more recently, I’ve begun to feel more inspired in my own writing again for a number of reasons. Firstly, I began to read and review more new books than I ever have, including:

The majority of these have been written by relatively new authors who have definitely faced some of the struggles I’ve had. I’ve become more and more excited to get something of my own published, so this has been a big kick up the bum! I also went to a book signing, joining the lovely Milly Johnson for the launch of her new book, The Perfectly Imperfect Woman. I told her that I’d love to be in her shoes one day. She told me that she was in my shoes once. Definitely something that will stick with me until I get my own paperback out there!

Okay, back to the update…

Over the past week or so, I’ve forced myself back into it and surprisingly, the more I’ve pushed myself, the more I’ve enjoyed getting back into the swing of things. There’s been some unexpected events though!

  1. My characters have changed! – I’ve renamed the majority of my characters. The original names never really stuck with me until I made this change, and I began to get them muddled up often (bad, I know!) My main character (who was originally Ellen) is now Jenny. She looks more like a Jenny in my mind’s eye and to me, really fits with her character. Isn’t it strange how you just know these things?!
  2. I’ve created more character profiles – I began doing this a while ago and I loved it. So, naturally, I have continued doing this! It’s a great way to get to know who you’re writing about. How can you expect to write about their every move if you don’t make friends with them first?
  3. I’m thoroughly planning each chapter – A fresh new Google doc has been created and I’m well on my way. This was the main thing I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but it’s just been particularly hard to find the motivation. Long tasks are difficult but I know I’ll thank myself when it’s done. Planning a novel can take a hell of a lot of time as I’ve found out but, actually, it’s quite a fun task. Thinking of the right ideas can be the hard part.
  4. I’m re-reading and re-editing – As much as I was scared to read through my work so far, it was actually nowhere near as bad as expected. My only fear was that I wouldn’t be able to write the rest as good as I did the first time round! I was rather happy with my first attempts which was a great feeling. I’m slowly but surely making some edits before I even attempt to get any new words on a page.
  5. I’m planning some new ways to grab ideas and inspiration – I’ve got some ideas up my sleeve which will enable me to go out in the big wide world to do my own story-related research. I’ll talk about these more when they happen, but it will involve me going out in public and observing different people and areas that could potentially help me in the whole writing process. Exciting stuff!

So, thankfully, things are finally moving forward. Any progress is good progress, right? The fact that I’m finally getting that creative spark back after a brief hiatus is celebration worthy. I’ve definitely got my eye on the prize right now; that physical copy with my name all over it. Something I can hold with pride and say, “You know what? This is my story that I wrote!” Honestly, there’s nothing I’d love more right now when it comes to writing goals.

I am well aware how long these things take and how much work has to go into it for you to get what you want out of it. It’s a hell of a long road. But, then again, it’s possible. It’s doable. I’ve fully set my sights on what I want to achieve now and I’m going to do it, no matter how long it takes! The one thing anyone should remember is if you want it enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen. Something I am definitely standing by right now!

How is everyone getting on with their own novels? It’d be great to hear what stage you’re at, or if you’re a complete beginner! 🙂

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