Way back in 2017 I finished my first novel, Bitter Awakenings. I was pleased and overwhelmed, at the same time. I quickly edited it and found a cover designer assuming I could easily figure out most of the other parts of self-pubbing on my own. It was a horrible learning experience. I assumed I knew enough, I knew nothing. Information was sporadic, conflicting, and ended up leading me down many dead-end streets and roundabouts of confusion. I took a leap; I fell flat on my face. Trial and error abound and eventually, after spending way too much money to even get it somewhat out there into the world, I decided to leave it alone and walk away.
Originally planning on it being the only novel I would ever write, I soon realized that I had left Bitter Awakenings wide open for a second installment which evolved into three books that ended up having babies until it became a five-book series titled, The Keeper Chronicles. Every book had me acquiring new knowledge, new tactics, and introduced me to some very helpful people along the way. Sites like Grammarly, Draft2Digital, and a new cover designer that worked miracles at thebookkhaleesi.com and much more suddenly allowed those with bad “know-how” skills to get work out there and to be happy about it too.
After five books and three novellas, I kept seeing my first book staring at me disapprovingly. See, I thought I could outrun the whole “leave it alone and move on” mentality I had built up. I thought I had left that whole bad experience in the past of hard lessons and ever steeper learning curves. I had always wanted to go back and edit/thin out my first book more but never found the time. Focusing on new work kept the old thoughts at bay. I was thundering through my new novella series, The AOA, and getting ready to wrap up the final pages of Season 1, Episode 3 when Covid-19 came a-callin’.
The pandemic hit, everyone’s world took a spin into chaos and craziness. I found myself home more, I found my hubs in the same boat sitting behind me. Both of us worked or tried. See, I can’t write effectively with someone behind me narrating their daily tasks or answering calls or even muddling through yet another zoom meeting. It weighed on me, I shelved Episode 3 of The AOA after trying to get back into daily writing and stewed. I wanted to write, I wanted to be creative and constructive yet this whole new “norm” was seriously kicking my butt. What would I do, what could I do?
I found myself drawn back to Bitter Awakenings. I found I could easily edit without too much fuss and interruptions; I could still feel like I was accomplishing things! I suddenly craved it, suddenly found myself deep in focus editing dialogue, snipping away fluffy bits to make the book flow better, to feel better. I kicked the lid off the casket exposing the rotting remains inside and decided to spray some cologne on the corpse and dress it up for Sunday dinner. What was originally a massive book of way too much ended up getting cut by a staggering 55 pages! It’s still a large book but now it resonates better with me, it smiles lovingly from a distance having finally been put right, or close enough.
I learned a lot through the years, I had to roll with quite a few punches. I’ve learned I can not write with noise behind me, but I can edit. I’ve also learned that with patience and time, one can better their world and beautify something that was once a tad on the ugly side. I enjoyed the experience so much, I’ve moved onto Twisted Reunions, Book 2, and will probably roll through all five in the series trimming and fixing minor mistakes or larger issues.
I’ll save all the unused and cut away body parts in a large document as one never knows when the urge to build something from bits and pieces will draw me to creation. The books will never be perfect in my mind, I’m an author and that’s how I roll, however, it will be better than it was and then some. When I finish, I’ll knowingly nod, softly close the lid, and sink the casket of my creations back into the earth to allow new works to spring forth like flowers in a cemetery.