Writing a novel might not be on everyone’s bucket list, but I’m pretty sure it makes it onto a few. It has ranked up there for me since I was a child, and always had a much greater appeal than flinging myself out of an aeroplane with only a wispy bit of material to slow my descent. Back in 2013, I decided that enough was enough and I started to get serious about making my dream a reality.
I signed up to NaNoWriMo (The National Novel Writing Month) which is an international celebration every November to encourage writers to get the first 50,000 words of their novel written. I spent the months prior to November outlining and planning and the plot for a post-apocalyptic young adult novel began to develop.
November came and although I spent the first week on holiday in Singapore, I made sure that I exceeded my writing quota (50,000 words over the month is approximately 1667 words a day). I drove my sister mad with my constant word count updates and I would lose myself in my laptop during the evenings but by the time I got home, I had a nice chunk of it written. By day 24 I had reached my 50K target, but my novel wasn’t done as yet and so I kept going, finally finishing it up about the 80K mark.
Then I closed my laptop and walked away and refused to look at it for the next two months. Spending over a month writing intensely is mentally and emotionally exhausting and I needed a break before I even started in on the second edit. By the time I came back to it, I had a little distance and I could recognise some really horrible bits, and after editing, and editing, and some more editing, I had what I thought was a passable draft. I then let my beta readers at it and took on board their suggestions and then went back to the editing and reworking stage.
Finally, it was done. It wasn’t perfect, even at the time, and even more so now. My writing has improved so much since then that sometimes I cringe when I read back over it. I ended up self-publishing it so I would have a physical copy that I could hold in my hands, and with the cover artwork that a friend graciously did for me, it looked rather spiffy and somewhat professional.
I’ll never submit it to a publishing house since I’m honest enough to know that it’s nowhere near good enough to be published, but I can proudly say that I’ve done it. I’ve written a novel and the handful of people who read it thought that it was pretty fun. It was a lot of hard work, and draining, but also an amazing experience and I’d recommend having a crack at it over jumping out of a plane any day.