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Novel update: First drafts really do suck

In honor of the ending of NaNoWriMo, I wanted to reflect on my writing this month and this year overall.

This year, ya girl wrote a lot.

I wrote two chapter books (I would consider them novellas because they were nowhere over 50,000 words), and I am currently in the process of writing another one. (Update as of Feb. 2023 – I finished the first book.) I broke a lot of barriers this year and I proved to myself that I can write a book and there’s no one but myself that can stop me.

I wrote about one book I finished in early January, which I titled Amy & McKenzie. The book is largely based on my enjoyment of K-pop from the years 2019-2020 and some of the tensions I wanted to see resolved between the black community and K-pop (at this time, I thought there were serious issues between the two.) The book has elements of romance as well, as I am a big romance lover and I enjoy wholesome romance the most. (You know, no seggsy stuff.) The book is a whopping 130 pages and 27,375 pages. I am now rereading it (I’m like halfway through it…it is an actual book now and no longer a figment of my imagination) and the experience is actually…quite enjoyable.

#1. Re-reading your work is cringey, but not all the time

I just finished reading a chapter that totally captivated me. I had to leave remarks for myself that I liked this particular part and I’d like to see this in the final copy of the book. Yes, I felt some second-hand embarrassment, knowing that I wrote this book and that it’s nothing like Stephanie Meyers or Jason Reynolds, but I did give myself credit. This is a nice, somewhat structured book. You are doing good.

#2. The book isn’t at all like a published book

It’s interesting because I was so nervous to read this book and when I started reading it, the nerves were still there, but I actually begin formulating pictures in my head of the characters, their surroundings, and the things they were doing. There isn’t a lot of political correctness in the books, which I don’t mind because human beings aren’t naturally political correct in my opinion, and right now there’s some things I’d like to change and add to the story, but overall, I am thoroughly impressed with myself and I can see my growth. I believe that having a blog where I challenge myself to write and also writing everyday is really improving my writing.

#3. Some things don’t have to be published.

This book will not be published for mass distribution. I plan to just have this book self-published and then I buy an author’s copy so I could keep it on my shelf. I am so excited to see this book on my shelf! I plan to learn all about formatting a chapter book on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing so I can have the book look how I’d like it. (I already know that the book cover formatting will be crazy. Please pray for me.)

*I have decided that this book will be published for mass distribution. The draft may have been…not as good but all it needs is some TLC and dress changes!

#4. I am glad I faced my fear.

I think a good thing I’m doing is facing my fear with reading my own work. As a writer, it’s easy to seek validation from others so that they can cell us about how good we’re doing, instead of us learning how to validate ourselves and realize that the experience is not about popping out a Stephen King or bestseller, but to improve slowly and surely with every piece of work we write. One thing I’d like to always do is write and ask for feedback. I constantly get feedback with my other job and it has drastically improved my writing. So I am starting to remember that lack of criticism = stagnation.

Have you ever written a book? How was the process? Leave your comments below!!


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