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Lessons I Learned from My First Novel

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So I have a confession to make. Over the past week, I emailed out my novel Lessons in Love one chapter at a time in February to those on my email list. I wrote it some time ago shortly after completing Everything is a Thing, (available on Amazon) when I was high from the success of completing the writing on my first book and not yet stressed by the self publishing process.

I wrote it because I wanted to. It was Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and I just wanted to know if I could. I had always wanted to write fiction, and it seemed like a great way to combine the creative energy of people writing daily all over the world, and a dream I had since childhood. I thought it would be simple and fun to write an island romance where I could combine my fantasy of writing an advice column for a local newspaper with the feeling I used to get writing long juicy emails to my best friend when we moved to different countries.

I had no idea if it was “ok” to write a book that was made up of conversations and emails… If it was ok to mix tenses and timelines and first-person and third person. But I wanted to write it and so I did. I sent it to a few friends in the following months, but mostly it sat on my computer. I didn’t want to go through self-publishing again, and if I am honest – I wasn’t even sure it was that good.

However, a few weeks ago, I decided I would put it out into the world in a way that seemed fun and easy – through my email list. I got a bigger response than I was expecting, and I had a LOT more fun than I had expected. The entire experience taught me something that I had long suspected, but that I have now become clear on – I want to be able to write my way. 

Going through the writing and self publishing of my non-fiction book, I realized that there is a lot of advice out there and guidance for those who are on that journey – some excellent guidance from those who are experienced in the process, and who have made great impact (and income) doing it. There is a lot about how to make the book writing process successful, and let’s face it – writing a book can be a labour of love (and sometimes it feels like more labour and less love).

It can change you in unimaginable ways as you unravel your story, and the feelings you have around certain parts of it – and this can apply to fiction, non-fiction – even poetry, children’s books, and short stories. If you are going to dive into something that is long-winded and has its challenges, then, of course, you want to get great success out of it. 

But I also think it is important to define success on your own terms. And sometimes the guidance that others give is based around their idea of success and what is “worth” your time, effort and even financial investment. I know I am biased but I genuinely have this belief that if you have even the slightest inkling that you want to write a book that somewhere in there is just that, and that you should DEFINITELY do it.

You should do it anyway – even if you are worried that it won’t be any good. You should do it even if you don’t know if you will publish it. You should do it even if you don’t know that you’ll finish it. I am here to remind you that books come in all shapes and sizes, and don’t be put off by word counts and fonts. Don’t worry about who will publish it, or about grammar. If you feel that spark then it is time to start writing! And I want to be in your corner cheering you on as you do so.

Learning that I wanted to write my own way has been a lesson that has brought so much freedom and fun to my writing, and has been the catalyst behind my mission for this year which is to help other first time writers ignite that spark. To write their way. To define what success looks like when they write. When I started working on my first writing project (my blog) I was fortunate to be in a group of other first time writers, and I found that the support I received there was invaluable!

For this reason, I am creating this space for first-time writers to get that support from myself and the others here, and to give that support as well. Your project could be big or small, or simply an idea. It could be a blog, book, poetry or short story. 

I have designed this space to have a clubhouse feel, where you can meet other first time writers, get weekly writing prompts, and bring your questions to the group. I am passionate about writing YOUR way and so the only rules that we have in this group are found in the “Group rules from Admins” section.

You get to define what your writing success looks like! And I want the writing process to be fun!!!!! I feel that I had a lot of success with my first novel – because I finished it, and I was able to share it with people who read it and enjoyed it, and it was fun!! 

If you want my support and the support of other first time writers, then I would LOVE you to join my Free Facebook Group – The Writing club, and join my mailing list here for weekly emails and notifications of new blog posts.

I can’t wait to see you there!! And in the meantime – I will be writing about my own writing practice here on this section of the blog and sharing any tips or resources that I think are useful to first-time writers. I’ll see you again soon.

And I send you big love from a small island!

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