I started this blog to chronicle my writing journey and give insight into the world of self-publishing.
My name is Jackson, and I’ve spent the last four years working a full time job in addition to writing and publishing my first book, The Chosen of Andraos. It’s been a long journey, and at the same time, it feels like i just started writing it yesterday. I certainly haven’t forgotten the long nights spent writing, the agonizing weeks editing and re-writing, and the patience while waiting for beta readers to give feedback among other things.
I finished publishing The Chosen of Andraos yesterday, when I approved my print book for sale on Amazon through Createspace. The ebook has been out since November. It feels very surreal. After constantly stressing and worrying about what I could be working on to finish the book, all of the sudden it is complete. I feel a freedom–a desire to return to doing what I love which is writing new story and developing my characters. My book is the first in the series, so even though book one is finished, I know I have at least two more to go, and I’m excited to get started. The sequel is already halfway written.
I’ve read a lot of advice about writing over the years. A lot of people say to get your book out there ASAP, while other (especially for series writers) say you need to finish the series before you publish.
I chose to publish book one before continuing the series, and I’m glad I did. Here’s why:
I wrote a good chunk of the sequel before I published my novel. Looking back at what i wrote before all the revisions and growth, I realize how much more work I have to do because the writing is garbage. Writing alone does not help an author grow in my opinion. You could write every day and not get any better, spewing the same garbage all over again. I think true growth comes from confronting what we have already written. While writing, often my focus is too narrow to pay attention to every element I want to include.
Looking back at the level of writer I was before I rewrote, edited, gutted and changed book one, I can see how far I’ve come as a writer. It’s going to make that sequel even better. I’m going to write a better first draft than I did before, in theory, which could translate to less editing down the road, and faster turnaround time from first draft to finished novel. At least, that’s my theory.
I had a piano teacher tell me something that I will never forget. I had spent a week barely practicing my piano skills, and it showed. She looked at me and told me: “Jackson, practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If there was one thing I took away from those lessons, that was it. You can’t just sit down and write and expect to get better. You have to work at whatever you want to do well at, and you should be doing your best the whole time.
For my writing, I often used Nanowrimo to spur daily prompts and make sure I sat down at the keyboard every day. This often led to many a night writing whatever I could to make my word count. After this journey, I realize that trying to make a certain word count may not be the best method for myself. I found many a section that needed a complete gut job thanks to writing garbage just to add words. It is the enemy of being concise and really bringing the text to life from simplicity. It was an editor’s worst nightmare in some areas, but not so bad in others.
You may be wondering why I chose to go off on this detail, but I come back to my main point: finishing book one first saved me from doing this through the entire series. I think for the second half of book two, I will focus on quality over quantity and see what the difference will be. I’m expecting good things! If my next first draft is less garbage than my previous one, I will consider it a success. Regardless, any finished first draft is a success. I just expect a lot from myself.
I plan to keep writing about being an author and the challenges and lessons I deal with along the way.
Thanks for reading, and happy writing!