Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Now What? Finishing First Drafts and Next Steps - Writing Wednesdays

This past Saturday, late afternoon, I sat in my bedroom in the armchair of an area that is kind-of like my office. Typically a weekend afternoon when I wanted to write would find me at Starbucks. There I can focus, let the rest of the world fall away. There are other coffee shops I love - Steeple Gallery in my town, Cafe Kopi in Champaign, but for some reason the Starbucks that I go to is absolutely perfect for me. It’s a little dark, usually has an open spot, and the most interesting people come and go. I love it there.

This weekend, however, was a different story. Late Friday night into Saturday, the snow began to fall. By midday on Saturday we had around eight inches. My heart sank, I knew there was no way I could reasonably drive almost thirty miles one way to get to Starbucks. I knew that in all likelihood I would be finishing the epilogue that day and part of me was sad that I wouldn’t be at Starbucks to write it. Knowing there was nothing else I could do, I grabbed some coffee and headed upstairs to my room.

I began with rereading what I had written last. My brain immediately fell back into the world I had created. I made some quick edits, then moved on to the epilogue. As the story unfolded in my mind, I tried to capture on the computer what I was feeling and seeing. While in Starbucks, I am surrounded by a constant hum, people having conversations, folks ordering coffee, light music in the background. At home I had a different hum, music played from my phone - songs that are tied to my story in my mind. Chris came in and out of our bedroom, grabbing laundry to do, asking me about dinner. They boys moved about the house, playing video games, talking to each other. Our dogs ran through the room more than once, wrestling, seeking attention, lazing on our bed. While distractions were far more plentiful at home than at Starbucks, when I typed my last words and realized I’d done it, I’d written a story, my heart overflowed. This was where I was meant to end this journey.

As for what’s next, that will unfold gradually. I’ve started an Instagram account under the name I plan on using when I publish. I’m not linking it to this blog or any of my other social media accounts - I teach middle school students and they are beautifully supportive kids, but this book is not for them. While they will likely find out the pen name at some point, at least I’ve put a layer between it and them. If you’d like to know my Instagram account, please message me here or on any of my social media accounts. As long as I don’t teach you, I’d gladly give it to you. :)

Beyond that, I’m going to create a website at some point. Then, write, revise, write, revise. I’m pretty certain I’ll be taking the self-publish/ indie publishing route. I just don’t even know where to start otherwise. Self-publishing means I will need to hire out editing and find someone to create my cover. And, as I said, I will be writing. While part of that will likely be revision work, a bulk of my writing will be new. I plan on starting the next book in this series, which right now I feel like will encompass five books. I’ve been listening to a lot of writing podcasts and the advice seems to be that if you are self-publishing, you should try to publish three books within weeks of each other when you are starting out. This allows you to build an audience.

So, there you have it. That’s where I am in the world of writing. Huge accomplishment reached, but so much more lies ahead. Thanks for taking this journey with me, it has been a blast so far.

And if you didn’t see last week’s Writing Wednesday post, it was an interview with one of my favorite romance writers, Kate Canterbary. Check it out HERE. I’ve shared a lot of her writing advice with my students already.

Coming up in the next few weeks will me more thoughts on writing from me, as well as more interviews: Jaleigh Johnson and Katherine Applegate are the next two with far more to come soon.

Have a great writing (and reading) week!