About writing



Believe it or not, but I'm not new in the writing game. I've been writing for... forever, and it took almost as long to finally, and comfortably, land in my decision to become an indie writer. Along the way, I've had my fair share of hitting walls and going up dead ends. I tried SO hard to become traditionally published, invested so much time and almost, almost got there... The final straw came when the agent who showed interest for Legacy to the extent that we were almost ready to strike a deal, got cold feet because she wasn't sure about the market for historicals. That's when I felt I'd had enough of trying to bend to the fickleness of agents and publishing houses, and decided to go indie - a decision I have never regretted (though I have to say, if I was in it for the money, I'd be seriously depressed by now). 

In any case, along the way, I've learned a few things about myself as a writer, and about the business in itself.

These are my thoughts.

it fitting. This way of working is the most organic, and the one that works best for me. Writing the scenes in chronological order often results in that not-so-pleasant phenomenon we call "writer's block". I want to be free when I write. When writing my first draft, I always focus on jotting down the dialogues and important scenes, and I do this quite chunkily with a lot of telling instead of showing (generally a big no, no). This is because I need to get the scenes down before I can think about the surrounding "fluff". All the fun decorating comes afterwards, when it's time to edit: that's where I add the descriptions and flesh out my characters and surroundings, work on my sentences and generally making sure everything flows like it should.

When the manuscript is complete (this takes quite some time, because I edit a lot!), it's time to step out of your chamber and engage in the more commercial side of the writing world. This means getting the book ready for publication. Make no mistake: this is an area where you need help - especially if you're an indie writer like me. If you're indie, don't make the mistake of thinking that you can do it all on your own: if you want to have even the slightest shot of making it in this business, you'll have to employ a professional attitude. Employ an editor. Employ a proofreader. Format your book with a professional. Have a professional make the cover. You will not regret it (the only thing is that it'll burn a hole in your wallet the size of your average meterorite strike - and yes, that could be a cause of regret, or at least sorrow). 

In a way, writing a book is like building a house, eh? You start with the foundation, and work yourself up to a fully decorated place to live. During the course of building, you may need to employ some services from professionals who know what they're doing - or you can risk doing it yourself. Either you'll make a good job of it, or it'll show that you're an amateur. Either way, it's your choice. Choose wisely.

My three most important tips regarding writing and publishing?

  •  Always start your writing process by writing for yourself. Sounds strange? Well, it's not, when you think about it. If you start writing with the idea that the book needs to have an audience even before you're finished, you'll soon be paralyzed with fear. Just write the book you want to read, and refrain from thinking about who's going to read it or even worse, compare yourself to other writers, before the story is complete. I know this is difficult, but all too often, you see writers doubting themselves and their capacity when they haven't even finished the darned book. Just don't do that. Write because you enjoy it. Write because the characters bring you joy or because you enjoy creating new worlds and stories. Do not write because you want to earn money (most likely, you won't anyway...). When the book is finished, you can start thinking about target audiences and strategies for selling. 
  • Employ professionals. Like I said, this is especially important if you're indie, but also a good thing if you're thinking of "going traditional". Publishing houses and agents enjoy professional looking, edited manuscripts. Sure, they will always have opinions (but then again, that's nothing compared to your readers, so better get used to it), but at least you know on beforehand that you've done your best. Pride in self and one's acclomplishments is a good start for any relation. 
  • Be humble. Stay humble. There is always something to learn. Be confident and self-assured, but stay open to learning. Always. Whether it's developing as a writer or getting advice about the formatting (or whatever it may be): listen. Listen doesn't mean you have to do what people tells you, of course (that's another lesson...), but that you keep yourself open to information. 

Most importantly, though, if writing is what you want to do:

Keep going and never give up!

I have to admit it: writing for me is not so much plotting as it is pantsing. While I admire writers who put effort into making character cards and writing outlines, I can honestly say that I've tried it, but never really gotten into it. I mean, I love coming up with characters just as much as anyone else, and making small notes about their eye colour and dreams, but in the end, after a while, I always, always get hideously bored. 

Good writing (for me) includes an element of surprise. I love to write and see where it takes me. And yes, sometimes, it doesn't work out, but that's fine - then I start something else. For me, writing is just as much about the journey, as it is about the goal. 

That said, when writing sequels, I do have to emply some level of self-control. While I had no real idea of how to wrap up all the loose ends in Secrets when I started writing, I at least knew I had to wrap them up, and I needed to conform to this framework. In everything else, I work like I've grown used to: I jot down the key scenes that I have in my head, and then fill in what should be in between when I feel