my writing process so far

Friends, it. Has. Happened. I kind of started writing a second draft of the half-novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year! I’ve talked about it a bit on the blog before as Queer Bookish Novel, as it is very queer and VERY bookish (the MC is a book blogger who is also a writer, and goes to what is essentially Book Expo).

After reading a lot of posts with writing advice on starting a novel and motivating yourself to do it, one of the first things I did was to make a spreadsheet of word count milestones with rewards that I would give myself when I reached them. One of my main issues with writing this novel has been motivation and discipline–I have ideas now, but it’s hard for me to make myself sit and actuallyΒ write. I SO want to be able to call myself a writer, but even that doesn’t always motivate me enough to sit down and do it. Thus, the rewards sheet has been born. I’ve already reached my 1,000 word goal, too! Next stop, 5,000!

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My biggest struggle so far has been deciding whether or not to make this a grief story or just a bookish romance. I wanted to write about my own experience of having a friend die and putting that in the book, but with that, it feels like too much is going on. I’m also trying to prove to myself that not everything in my life has to be about her death, even though it still feels like it is sometimes. Still, I don’t want something in the story that just doesn’t go there or make it better.

I’m also worried that it’s too wish-fulfillment-y and not a real story. But that’s for another post and probably something I should try to put aside while I’m actually writing it.

I have also written a very basic outline of what I want to happen in my first ten chapters, which I’m considering the first act. The way I’m structuring it, based on some other people’s posts, is that one disaster happens at the end of act 2 and another happens at the end of act 3. Act 1 sets everything up, basically, and act 4 is the ending. I’m also guestimating word counts for each act to give me something to shoot for.

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Another thing I am having trouble with are character names. I can’t decide what to name the protagonist, and had trouble with the best friend love interest as well. Right now I’m debating changing the MC’s name from Lyle (yes, I know it’s an odd name for a girl), because one of the other love interest’s names also starts with L, and I don’t want it to be annoying to read or keep track of.

Honestly I’m at the stage where I don’t even know if I want to write this book. I don’t think anything can come of it since the audience would be so niche, and my first chapter is just horrible. I also still can’t decide whether I want to write the friend death or not. Basically, I am at a stage of extreme self doubt and am finding things hard. I have other novel ideas that I want to work on equally or more, but I’ve wanted to write this one for so long and have been ruminating on it for months so I feel like I have to see it through.

If you relate to any of these problems or have any comments or advice, please tell me because I probably could use it.

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  1. Self doubt is perfectly normal when it comes to writing. We all feel it at some point, so you’re not alone! I’m sure you’ve heard this before, bit if you want to write this book, WRITE IT! Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Don’t worry if it’s a mess, or too busy, or a mishmash of themes. Give your characters “filler” names for the time being. These are all things you can fix when you’re editing. It sounds like this is a story you want to tell, so just give it a crack!! Alternatively, if you don’t think now is the right time, put it aside and work on something else. There’s no reason you can’t come back to it later. Best of luck 😊

  2. I’m happy to hear you started doing some writing – that rewards-thing is such a great idea, I think I should do that too, maybe that would motivate me in actually writing, too, I’ve been struggling with it for so long now, it’s ridiculous haha.
    I completely get your frustration, I have been feeling in the same place as well. I wish I could help, but really, I think that it’s important to try and make our inner voice just shut up for a little while and let our fingers do the typing. Even if it sucks. Maybe try to write some scenes, even if they are not in order, write the scenes that stand out to you – I know I did that when I first started and that was a huge help. Also, for the characters’ names, I tend to change mine whenever I write or afterwards haha, don’t worry about that too much – you will find the perfect name afterwards, I am sure of it πŸ™‚
    Best of luck for your writing, I believe in you <3

  3. I’m so proud of you for writing! That’s already a huge step πŸ™‚ I completely get your self-doubt: I go from thinking my writing is not that bad and actually being proud of it, to questioning every single aspect. While incredibly frustrating and exhausting, I do think every writer struggles with this. I keep telling myself that this is just a first draft and that there’s plenty of time to rewrite, edit and make it better. Yours is also still a first draft, so even if it does suck, that’s okay! First drafts are allowed to be terrible, as long as you’re writing.
    I don’t think the audience would be that niche at all. The way you described it makes me think of Queens of Geek, except with a book blogger instead of a youtuber and that is a beloved novel. Also it’s okay to write this book for yourself! You could always take a bit of a break from it and maybe write something else. I fell in love again with an old wip of mine that way.
    Good luck with your writing, you can do it <3

    1. I feel like I might need a bit of a break from thinking about it, tbh. I love the idea of it (QUEENS OF GEEK is such an apt comp title, btw!! <3) but I'm just sick of thinking about it all the time. I haven't even written much in almost a year but it's just getting to the point where thinking about writing it is making me stress, which is probably not a good sign. Thank you so much for your sweet, encouraging comment <3

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