Every aspiring writer sets out to write the great novel that will make him or her famous. You may be on this journey yourself so let us prepare you with a review of the five stages you will go through on this journey.
Stage 1 – Being the Invincible Writer with the most fabulous story.
You begin the journey knowing that you have the best idea for a story ever to be told. You tell everyone about this book. Your phone calls go unanswered as your friends avoid listening to you tell them about your great book idea. In this stage you are euphoric, happy, and spend hours writing the outline and smirking about the plot twists and turns you are devising. You can already imagine the royalties, movie offers, and red carpet treatment you will receive once your book is published. Hold onto this feeling for as long as you can, because the next stage gets a bit rough.
Stage 2 – Paranoia that your characters are out to get you.
As you enter Stage 2, you find that the plot has a few holes. You begin having your characters help fix the plot and then all of a sudden you find out that one is mortally injured. How did that happen? What are you going to do know? You begin to look back and try to figure out how your character misled you. At this stage you begin speaking to your characters (some authors go so far as to yell at these fictional people). You imagine that your characters are plotting against you and have no idea the level of greatness you will achieve as a writer. In some cases, you go back and delete that character completely or you find ways to bring her back from the brink of death and the best part – you expect her to be thankful to you for the rest of the book. Characters are characters. The darn book would be easy to write if all the characters behaved.
Stage 3 – I just want to finish this story.
At this stage in writing your first book, you are exhausted. Maybe you are still working the day job to pay your bills and all you want is one more weekend to finish this book. You are losing sleep, spend all the weekend in sweat pants, and your friends wonder if you are still alive. At this point, you throw the plot out the window and write rapidly to make it to the end. You have now become the speedwriter with one goal in mind: writing the words “THE END.”
Stage 4- I hate my Editor.
The book is finally complete and you realize it might be good to have an editor look this over. You have poured your heart and soul into this book and re-written sentences and used the grammar lessons from Ms. Clark, your fourth grade teacher. You email the book to your editor who turns it around in 48 hours and you open the edited file…and begin to cry. Eight hundred and twenty-seven changes and 47 comments later you realize now that you hate your editor more than your characters. The editor asked questions about the plot and how a character made it back from near death, not to mention changing all your punctuation.
Stage 5 – Please Mom just buy a copy and I will never ask you again for anything.
Finally, after making it through the edits and getting the final book in perfect form, it is published. Maybe you have chosen traditional publishing or gone out on your own and used self-publishing. Either way you sit back and get ready for all the good feelings you dreamed of in Stage 1. Eight days later, with no sales reported just yet, you call your mom and have the following conversation.
Author “Hi Mom…do you have a minute or two?”
Mom “Of course dear.”
Author “Mom, I promise to never ask for anything again and you will be the best mom in the world if you do me this one favor.”
Mom “What do you need dear?”
Author “Would you please purchase a copy of my book?”
Mom “You wrote a book?”
For all you aspiring authors, this is just a bit of humor to help you through the process. Many of us have walked this path already. We know you will succeed. Keep smiling, keep writing, and know that you are not alone on the journey. In the end, the joy is in becoming a writer with a published book…welcome to the club. And if you want help with editing and feedback, check us out.