It has taken me ten years to finish the Phoenix Host, book one of my Roanfire Saga. Granted, I’ve gotten married, moved twice, had three children, all while juggling a full-time job, and helping my husband get through school. It still shouldn’t have taken me this long to get a single book out, right?
It’s hard to keep from looking at other authors, watching them publish three to four books a year. My husband reminds me that many of them don’t have the responsibilities that I do. A.K.A.: my three kids.
But I still wonder if there’s something more I can do. And I think there is.
- Have good, solid characters to begin with. Don’t skip on writing and mapping out the recommended backstories, character flaws, and descriptions. Your plot could be amazing but without good characters, the story falls flat.
- Know your ending. For years this has been my weakness. I’ve always been good at starting stories and getting readers engaged, but I just don’t know how to end it. It’s only been within the last three years that I have finally come up with an ending for the Roanfire saga. And I blame that for setting me back a decade and finishing this series.
- Read everything you can about writing. Listen to podcasts. Do whatever you can to keep learning your trade. There are several incredible courses on audible. Listen to writing podcasts. One of my favorites is “Writing Excuses”.
- Learn to take criticism. Cherish it when people give you feedback on your book, even if it hurts. If they’ve taken the time to read your work. That means they’re invested, and care, and are curious. I try to keep an open mind. But I’m also true to myself. Not everyone is going to like my work.
- Know when to stop revising. We authors are so hard on ourselves. We go back and reread what we’ve written, and cringe. I know I do, and if you don’t, well, you’re a different species. I hate to admit it, but my first book, The Phoenix Host, has undergone at least fourteen revisions. Every time you go back to fix something you don’t like, or someone else didn’t like about your work, you lose valuable time when you could be working on something new. Something better, something that shows everything you have learned. Not everything you write is going to be published.
I’m taking into consideration is very, very tough two years that we have endured during the pandemic. A friend once told me that when you are being chased by a tiger, in survival mode, the last thing you want to do is be creative. It made sense why I was struggling to write books three and four of my series when I was stuck at home with nowhere to go and nothing to do, except for care for three little boys. (Okay, I made that sound like less work than it really is.)
The point is, I’m trying to take my life back. I’m trying to live by the five rules that I just listed and hopefully my next book will be out within three to four months, and not another ten years.
You only fail if you give up. Keep writing.