Writing a Book

So, I wrote a book. Crazy, right? It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. Years. I’m the kind of person who does everything to get what they want. If I want a new job, I do everything in my power to get one. (And, so far, it’s worked rather well.) If I want to get in shape, I work out regularly. (Okay, this usually only lasts for, like, two weeks…but I try!) Creative writing has been the only thing I’ve been…more reserved about. I’ve had a ton of nonfiction articles published (See: my last job), but fiction? Never. And it’s always been my goal. And year after year I’ve pushed it to the side, in fear of, well, failing.

But not doing anything essentially made me fail.

So this year I participated in National Novel Writing Month. I figured if I had a deadline, as well as other people working towards the same goal with me, I’d do it. I didn’t just think I could conquer it, I knew I could. And I think it was that insane determination that helped me through. Because 27 days later…I completed my first novel. All 51,000+ words.  Honestly? I’ve never been prouder. I actually cried as I typed the last sentence. CRIED.

But obviously, that’s not the end. Writing something in 27 days means it’s far from perfect. So that’s what I’m doing now – making this book perfect (or, manuscript perfect at least). I self-edited it once, checking the grammar and spelling and ensuring everything made sense (at least to me). After, I sent it to two friends who I knew would offer insightful critiques, as well as an unbiased reading.

And it was so scary. These girls are my friends, I know they’ll be kind, but the idea that someone else is reading my creative writing is absolutely frightening. Someone is meeting my characters, envisioning my plot. The work is officially not just mine anymore, it’s living in the minds of others.

What if they didn’t like it? What if it was bad?

So two nights ago, my friend Katie came over with a ton of critiques. She commented on what worked, and what didn’t. She corrected some more grammar and said I used certain words too much. (Which, I do.) The thing is – the comments didn’t hurt as I thought they would. Yes, she’s saying some parts weren’t great, but I took the critique and used it to better the draft. I didn’t take it to heart, instead I took it to the pen. Or the computer, moreso, because I knew if something didn’t work for her, it wouldn’t work for other readers. And I want other readers to see it. I want them to enjoy it. So even though it hurts to change my book, I know it’s for the best. So i’m doing that.

But on the plus side, she actually liked it. And I couldn’t stop smiling for days after hearing that.

The is a long way of saying that I’ve written a book. I’m going to be working on it a lot now, and eventually searching for literary agents to hopefully represent me, and it. I know it will be a long process. I know it will be a hard process, but I’m ready. I want to take my writing out into the world. I want people to meet my characters and see what they’re like. I want people to experience their lives.

And I’m going to do everything in my power to get this done.

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15 thoughts on “Writing a Book

  1. Kevin J. Parham says:

    Although the process of securing representation and getting your work published is a long and ardurous journey, you appear to be up for the challenge. If you keep a positive attitude and an open mind, you’ll achieve all that you aspire to and more!

    And by all means, keep writing!

    Best of luck,
    Kevin

  2. Gretchen Alice says:

    I’m part of a writing group and it’s the most terrifying thing in the world to receive feedback, but I’m still shocked by how good I feel after leaving our group. I usually hate it when people give me constructive criticism (even if it is constructive), but when it comes to my writing, I don’t have a problem with it. I think that has something to do with realizing that in the long run, it’s making my book better.
    Also, congrats on reaching the editing stage!

    • laurengibaldi says:

      Oh, I totally agree. I thought it would be the scariest thing ever, but it’s really quite wonderful. What you said is right – any sort of critique helps improve the book. And that’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it? Are you working on a book as well?

  3. Evelyn N. Alfred says:

    That’s wonderful that you finished. The year I attempted to do NaNoWriMo I failed miserably. Perhaps you’ll be like Dia Reeves. She’s a librarian too who participated in NaNoWriMo and got her YA book(s) published.

  4. ktharding says:

    🙂 🙂

    funny how it was scary for me, too. because i would still have to be honest with you if i HADN’T liked it. thanks for trusting me with your characters. i’ll try not to be a cry-baby when it’s your turn to tear mine apart.

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