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Thursday 13th August 2020

Hello. I hope you’ve all had a lovely week.

I decided to re-edit some of the first few chapters so that I can go through one POV at a time. I have chosen my main protagonist (Andie) to revise first and finally finished my first set of revisions with her this afternoon. I aim to revise my second protagonist (Kaleb) tomorrow. he only has three chapters throughout the novel so should be nice and easy. This leaves me the weekend and next week to revise two more POVs before sending it out for feedback.

I would love to say that revisions have been fun and exciting, but I’ve found them stressful. Because I’m a newbie to writing, with no qualifications, I’m struggling with this process. I’ve enjoyed improving the writing and adding things in that were missed out in first draft, but I’m still not sure if I’m doing it the right way. It’s got me down the last few days. I’ve felt like a failure, like I’m wasting my time, like I’m not good enough. And the truth is – I can’t tell myself I’m not a failure because I’m still in the process of trying, I don’t yet know if I’m wasting my time, and I have no idea whether I’m good enough. One minute I feel positive, the next I feel down. One thing I have told myself, though, is that I’m not going to give up. I WILL revise my novel, the whole way through. I WILL act upon feedback I receive from my editor next month. I WILL try my luck with traditional publishing. If I don’t succeed through the traditional route then I WILL try self-publishing instead. It’s all a bit of a headache. I much prefer the planning and writing the first draft to revising. However, revision has been extremely beneficial at the same time.

Another thing I have struggled with is being an under-writer. I have read that I ideally need 70k words for the novel to have better chances of being accepted, but I’m over 10k words away from this target. Oops! I’ve increased my word count significantly with my first POV character, so I’m hoping the other three POV characters will help me climb closer to the 70k goal. If not, I’m hoping that my editor can give me some pointers. It’s too long to be a novella, so I need to up my game to be in with a chance.

Life at home has been pretty boring and uneventful this week. I’m still dieting but haven’t done any exercise yet. I wasn’t well last night so have sat on my laptop most of today; my daughter has been making drinks and giving me blankets as well as my much loved teddy bear. My daughter is actually my inspiration for writing my novel and she’s my motivation for continuing the journey.

I hope I’ve not been too depressing with my post today, just trying to relate how difficult I’m finding this writing process. Am I alone with this? Or is there anyone else that’s going/been through the same thing? I just want to walk into a bookstore one day to see my book on the shelf!

As ever, thank you for your continued support. I appreciate every second of your time – it’s precious! Have a great weekend and I’ll speak to you all next week.

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Thursday 6th August 2020

Hello everyone.

I apologise for not writing a blog post last Thursday. It was my partner’s birthday so we were celebrating with a few (or more) glasses of gin, and I thought it best to stay away from the keyboard in case I wrote something completely incoherent!

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been watching lots of videos on YouTube from Reedsy and iWriterly on how to self-edit and revise your first draft. If you haven’t already seen them then I highly recommend watching their videos with an editor who provide critiques on writing that has been sent in. The best one on Reedsy is First Line Frenzy with Rebecca Heyman. Viewers send in the first line of their novel and Rebecca will give honest feedback. There is one on iWriterly with Meg LaTorre and a guest editor/literary agent who ring a bell when they feel a literary agent would stop reading the first section of a manuscript. These videos have been super helpful and has given me food for thought.

So far, I’ve edited the first five chapters of my novel and intend to finish the first round of editing by the end of next week so that I can start my second revision and send it off to my feedback group to get their thoughts and opinions on the novel as a whole. I have found this process daunting; it’s been difficult finding relevant flaws in my character arcs and plot etc. I find it much easier to line edit my work. I have hired an editor for a developmental edit on the first ten thousand words of my novel. To say I’m excited is an understatement – if I could send it off now to get the feedback then I would, however, I am booked in for mid September. Hopefully I will have some feedback before then so I can make any necessary adjustments before sending it off.

Last week, I came to the realisation that I’ve put on far too much weight over the last three years (not just over lockdown), so I’m now on a diet and have lost two pounds already. I started the diet three days ago and I plan on starting an exercise routine next week. I want to feel good about myself again and I want my clothes to fit because I don’t have enough money to keep buying new clothes every time I go up a dress-size. My partner and daughter have agreed to diet with me – we are going to be a grumpy household for the next few weeks!

Thank you again for being the amazing readers you are. Have a fab weekend, speak next week.

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Thursday 23rd July 2020

Good evening to you all! I hope you’ve had a great week.

So, I would like to start off by saying that I was unsuccessful with the mentorship programme. They had over 1,500 applicants and only six spaces to hand out. I’m not upset; I was half expecting that result when they postponed the announcement date. It made me realise that I need to finish my first draft and give it a full revision so I can start querying.

The good news is that my partner and I have booked our wedding. We fell in love with the venue and are planning on paying it off by the end of next year to give us a chance to sort the extras out. We are super excited to have it booked after being engaged for a year already. The wedding won’t be until 2023 which gives us plenty of time to get things paid!

Work has finished now. I won’t be back in until September when the new academic year starts. It will be interesting to see how everything works with our new guidelines dependent on what’s happening with COVID-19 at that point. On the whole, I’m looking forward to a change; to be working with a new class teacher and to be with a new year group.

Some more good news – I finally finished the first draft of my novel! After two years of writing, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My job over the summer holidays is to self-edit like crazy and send the first chunk of my story to a developmental editor as I can’t afford the cost of sending the full manuscript over. I have decided to send a small chunk to get as much of the beginning scrutinised as possible and apply the feedback to the rest of my novel. I’m hoping that this will put me in a better position for querying. I really want to start sending my novel off to agents before the end of the year so that I can make a start on my next novel.

Thank you for reading, it means a lot! Have a lovely weekend and I will be back next week.

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Thursday 16th July 2020

Firstly, I would like to apologise for not writing a blog post last week. The reason why I didn’t write is because I was baking and icing cupcakes, boxing them and labelling them. On Friday morning, I gave one to my daughter. The sticker on the box read: Will you be my bridesmaid? She said YES! Later on that evening, I handed a cake to both my sisters and to two of my closest friends who all agreed. My partner and I are going to view the venue we would like over the weekend to put a deposit down. It’s starting to feel real now that we are making arrangements.

Next, I’ve hardly done any reading over the last two weeks so that I can focus any spare time on my novel. I now have one chapter to tweak and one chapter to finish writing until my first draft is complete. It’s all coming together. I plan on printing it out next week to do a full revision before sending it out to my feedback group to get their opinions on the story as a whole, including the plot twist.

From Tuesday, I will have the summer holidays off work to dive into my reading and writing. I’m still undecided about an editor. Again, it comes down to money – and my lack of it! Tomorrow is the announcement date for the mentorship programme. Due to the number of applicants, I doubt I will get a place, but I’m holding out hope for some good news in the middle of this rubbish experience we are all part of.

I hope you’ve had a good couple of weeks and have a fabulous weekend. Thank you for your continued support. Speak next week.

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Thursday 2nd July 2020

Hello again. It’s been a tough week at school with continuing to make props and making a start on sorting out the Science and D. T cupboard. The class teacher and I decided to order lots of tray boxes – one colour for Science and one colour for D. T – to make them more visually accessible. We have thrown away three black bags of things that are broken or just don’t get used. This means we can create an itinerary to assess what we have and what we need. We are going to create new labels in the hopes of keeping everything where it needs to be.

After feeling guilty last week for not having written anything, I managed to write an additional three chapters over the weekend meaning that my fiance found out my major plot twist. He was surprised and I was happy! Although, it did highlight a mistake I’d made with my plot, allowing me to adjust a few details. Also, I had some negative feedback about one of my chapters. I have now broken that chapter into two and placed them in different sections of the story. This is my next task for the weekend – to rewrite both of these and continue to adjust some details along the way to ensure my plots tie in together nicely. Then, I only have three more chapters to write until I’m finished with my first draft.

I’ve been reading a few books this week. I finished Sookie Stackhouse #9 and have started #10. I’ve also started Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. I finished a non-fiction book about prose and read a book called Show, Don’t Tell. I made lots of notes from this book to help me when I revise my draft for self-editing purposes.

I’m toying with the idea of hiring a professional editor. The cost is what’s holding me back from making that decision. Firstly, I have a wedding to save for. I also need to buy a car if my fiance and I are able to move house so that I can get to work. It would also be great if I could buy a new laptop given that mine is almost ten years old! Ah, money is always the reason for anything – good or bad. The thing is, I’d love to have a professional opinion by sending my work off for a developmental/structural edit. I feel it will give me a better chance of getting accepted by an agent if I’m unsuccessful with the mentorship programme. Decisions, decisions!

Thank you so much for reading. As ever, I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time to support me along my journey. Have a fabulous weekend. Speak to you all next week.