Writing. Refineing. Polishing.

Writing it fun until you want someone to read it and tell you what they think. Then it becomes something that can be critiqued – which means there will/might be parts that need a bit of refining or polishing.

Let me tell you about an excruciating and expensive process of writing, refining and polishing.

I had been writing since I was a teenager, but didn’t get serious until about 2008 when I wrote my first book. At the end I absolutely loved it! Thought I was a fantastic writer. Until I gave it to a friend who took four months to read it and when they finally told me what they thought, I was like….oh, so you didn’t like it?

So I wrote another book.

Sent it to another friend. Same results, different phrasing.

Fast forward a few years, and I wrote another one. This one was even better than my first two, and I was determined to see it in a bookstore. I knew it was going to be amazing because I never read or heard of anything like it.

Found and editor that charged me about 5K. I took out a private loan with incredibly stupid ideas on what the editor was going to do.

I thought I was paying this editor to read through my story, tell me what worked, what didn’t, what I should improve on, AND line edit.

I got back 350 printed pages with purple scribbles all over it. At the end all the editor said was: Congratulations on writing your first book.

My heart was so shocked and disappointed that I couldn’t even process it. By the time I did process it, I had accepted I sucked at writing and should give up the dream.

Years later in 2015 – I ended up trashing that book I paid 5K to edit and re-wrote it, found another editor, paid her $600 to edit and with her help was able to put it up on KDP.

I think I had six reviews and four of them complained about typos. So I hired another editor, paid her another $600 or so and then re-uploaded it to Amazon’s KDP and didn’t get another buy, page read or review.

Undiscouraged…I wrote another book. This time the reviews didn’t have anything to say about the grammar or spelling errors – nope the reviews cut in and said it had no flow, no sense of time and transitioned poorly.

I’m going to stop this story here and say I didn’t realize I had to actually learn to write a good book. I didn’t know the right techniques, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. So I gave it up and went about my life until 2017 when I took a copywriting class.

Loved it. Not because I wanted to write copy, but because I was introduced to types of writing craft!!

I wrote another book, had it critiqued by three different readers from Upwork. Rewrote it about twelve times. Got a fabulous editor and published it. 20 + reviews and they loved it.

Repeated the process. Wrote another. Same result.

My next book comes out in December, and I’m expecting the same result. Not because I think I’m an excellent writer. No. It’s because I know to write, revise (and do that several times after each critique), then get it edited by a professional, then publish.

So that’s the insanely expensive lesson that I hope you never have to pay for.

Which is why my motto is: write, revise, edit, publish, repeat.

Make 2019 Your Year

Do you have an idea for a great story?

Or are you already working on it?

Are you working on it every day? Or do you let a few days go by?

There is no right way or wrong way to write, but you still have to write. For professionals, they write every day.

I’m not a J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, nor would I ever pretend to be, but I try to get in five to six writing days a week. And as amazing as that may sound, I have to confess, I don’t get in thousands upon thousands of word. I get in a few hundred depending on if I am writing or revising.

How many words do you get in?

Would you like to have something great to track your progress?

Me too.

Last month, I thought long and hard about commissioning a graphic designer to make a calendar specifically designed for writers.

The calendar I had made has daily checkboxes so you can see your daily progress. Track how often you write, or how many words you get in a day. Plan or plot when you will start your next book.

The possibilities are only defined by your creativity.

So if you’re thinking of writing, if you’re already writing, or if you’re like me and want to see your progress at-a-glance, check out the new ilovetowrite.org calendar.