Tuesday, April 4, 2023

IWSG - April

It's the first Wednesday in April (already!!!) so it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. 

Big shout out to the awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre!

And here's this month's question:

Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

Gah! This is making me dig back into the dim, distant past. I think I was about 13 when I wrote my first book. It wasn't great, believe me. But I still have that book somewhere and the story I wrote is one I've gone back to a number of times. It was loosely based on something that happened to a friend of mine a couple of years earlier, and as I've grown older and have a different perspective on the events, I've gone back to that story and those characters over an over.

I don't think I'll ever publish that particular novel, even if I re-write it again sometime, but it certainly taught me how to write a book and that I actually could do it. By the time I was 20 I'd written three more, none of which have been published (and nor should they be), but I learned a lot from the process. And interestingly, every time I go back to look over those first, immature attempts at writing a novel, I'm surprised by how good some bits of them are. Mostly not, but there are scenes or phrases or characters in those early books that are as good as anything I've written since. So I keep them around in case I want to steal stuff out of them.

At the time I don't think I was thinking about having a career as a writer. Writing was something I just liked doing. And it's something I've always done. I had my first story published in the Kids Stuff pages of our local paper when I was six. As I grew up, writing wasn't really a cool thing to do, so it became something I did on my own but never really talked about. It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I decide to come out of the closet as a writer, so to speak.

I've now written 16 novels (or possibly more; here may be a few I've forgotten buried somewhere in my hard drive or desk drawers). I have had four published, one is about to be published and I have another two out on submission as I write this. So, I guess things are going okay for me.

I'm obviously really proud of my published novels, and there are some of my unpublished ones I really love too. But I don't feel like I've actually achieved what I really wanted to achieve as a writer yet. I've had some wonderful reviews and some absolutely fantastic feedback from readers, and that's really the best thing for me as a writer. But it would be nice to have more sales, to be able to walk into a bookstore and find my book on the shelf. And it would be even better to earn enough from my writing to be able to do it full time, or even half time.

I keep telling myself I'm going to quit writing because the amount of effort I put in is definitely not reflected in the amount my royalty cheques bring in. Yes somehow, I keep writing. I keep sending those manuscripts out, hoping that this one might be the one to get a big-ass publishing contract, a Netflix series, an agent, something...

Persistence has to mean something, right?

What do you remember about writing your first book?


  1. I was around the same age when I wrote my first real book. I don't have it anymore, which is too bad because I'm sure it would make for some unintentionally hilarious reading. :)

    I think persistence definitely has to mean something.

  2. That's so awesome that you wrote three books by the age of 20 and have kept it up. And persistence is essential if you're a writer.

  3. My first book wasn't that long ago so I can remember pretty well what I was thinking and it was "I'm bored. What can I do?"

  4. Writing has an addictive quality to it. You start and you just can't stop.

  5. It's interesting that you can set dreams as a writer and then when you achieve them find that you want more. That's good, it means we never stop growing and pushing further. I don't think it would be possible to stop writing.