Though I’ve written many other books in the last two years, it actually took me a little over two years (closer to two and a half) to finish Night Bells. One night in college, while I was sitting and moping in my dorm room over my major, I decided to sit down and indulge my true passion: writing. Out of fear and some poor thought-processes on my part, I had chosen a major I thought would be financially stable for the future I was planning with my husband-to-be (the Philosopher, of course). Little did I know that being good at something does not mean you’ll enjoy it and I definitely did not enjoy the profession I had chosen for myself. I digress. Back to that dreary night where I sat down to write (yay, rhyme)!
I had a spark of inspiration that night–a snippet of an idea–and my fingers fluttered over the keyboard, ready to give it life. The first paragraph came out quickly and easily. So did the next and the next. I don’t remember how long I sat working on this idea that night, but a seed was definitely planted.
Unfortunately, I stepped away from the novel idea for a while as college graduation and my marriage inched nearer. A few weeks after I had married the Philosopher, I got that same itch to revisit that story I had started. I sat down at my desk and pulled open the document. Just as the first time, words seemed to form magically in my brain and spill onto the open manuscript. I wrote for hours. I decided to send it to a friend of mine to read over. She thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was encouraged. I kept writing.
Then, when life got busy and my husband and I started the process of buying a house, the writing slowed down. Eventually, it stopped altogether. At this point, we are probably seven months past the first time I started writing the story. I didn’t do much with the manuscript over the course of the winter. However, when February rolled around (nearly nine months after starting the book), my husband presented me with a challenge. You’ve most likely read about this challenge here if you’ve checked out my “About Me” page. However, I’ll retell it in this post. My husband told me if I wanted to become an author and was serious about it, I needed to make a commitment. He suggested writing an hour a day–no exceptions (unless there were emergencies, of course). Never wanting to back down from a challenge, I accepted.
Something magical happened. By the end of April, I had finished the first draft of the book. If you’ve read Night Bells, you know it’s LONG. But writing an hour a day had changed me. For once in my life, I felt like my dreams of becoming an author could actually come true. I immediately read through the entire manuscript to look for errors and then set it aside for a while to work on other novel ideas I’d been brainstorming. I wrote four books as 2011 wound on into 2012. I edited Night Bells over and over again. I kept writing new manuscripts. Then, in early 2012, the manuscript writing slowed down and full on publishing-prep mode switched on in my brain.
My husband and I always had the goal of me publishing in mind, but to actually prepare to do it was an INSANELY scary, exciting, and daunting prospect for me. Growing up, I always expected to pursue traditional publishing, but when I began researching self-publishing, I knew it was the plan for me. I’m highly motivated, organized, and hard-working. As well, I knew I’d enjoy the insane minutiae of the ins and outs of being an indie author. In 2012 so far, I’ve only written one other manuscript (the sequel to Night Bells), because I’ve been so focused on editing and prepping for self-publishing.
By April 2012, my mind and body was exhausted. Counting my novel work, I was juggling three jobs, marriage, friendships and family, and my marital arts. It was too much. As well, since my day-job was not truly where my passion was, my husband encouraged me to leave it and work full-time on my novels and Maiedae work. So I did. Summer 2012 has been a MAGICAL time. I’ve written SO, SO, SO much! I was able to start a new novel (the second of 2012), get Night Bells edited like a MILLION times (okay, well not a million), and prep it for a pubishing release.
I researched marketing tactics (still am). I created a website and eventually moved it over to a self-hosted domain name. I took on more responsibility at Maiedae. I learned how to work efficiently and SUPER hard from home. I developed my own routine.
You know what? Despite the sometimes insane hours and depth of work that needed to be done, I love every minute. Sure, I got stressed in the weeks right before Night Bells came out, but it was a good sort of stress where you really love what you’re doing and you want to see it succeed and watch everything come together. I have felt more myself this summer than I have in the last two years (when it comes to job-feelings). I feel like I’m doing what I was wired up to do and that is always a terrific sensation.
In summation, writing a novel is hard. Some take longer than others to finish, and prepping a manuscript for publishing is nearly a full-time job in and of itself–especially for the weeks leading up to the release.
Would I do it again? OH, YES. And I am. Stay tuned for later posts about my upcoming novels!
If you’re a writer out there, or you’ve always wanted to be one, GO FOR IT. You cannot achieve your dreams until you bring them down to earth and turn them into bite-size goals. Not sure how to get started? I’m not saying my way is the absolute best, but it certainly jump started my writing. Try writing for an hour EVERY day. It will literally change you life. I promise.
Thank you for listening to my long-winded story about writing a full-length novel and prepping it for publishing! I hope it was helpful to you, especially if you’re in the manuscript stages of your own book. It’s hard work. It’s rewarding work. You can do it!
Thanks for reading!