Don’t give up! Finish your work

I feel like the old schoolmarm saying this, but it’s good advice. I heard this years ago and ignored it while I jumped from project to project, not finishing any of them, which meant I never, ever felt a sense of satisfaction about my work.

I finally completed my first novel three years ago after working on it for five years. I had to learn how to do intensive research efficiently, be ruthless about editing out descriptions and moments I thought were so good but just didn’t fit, stop procrastinating (mostly), and to ignore those demons who sit on my shoulder, whispering I’m not good enough, that no one will want to read anything I’ve written.

But, I finished it and learned there’s a huge difference between wanting to write a novel and actually doing the work to completion. It’s an essential step in becoming a professional writer, but it’s only a step, like getting a black belt in a martial art and your sensei says, now you’re ready to learn.

The writing journey

Here’s where I am so far.

A few years ago, I wrote an historical novel titled Queen of Incense. It’s the story of the journey of Bilqis of Saba, the Queen of Sheba, and her journey from ancient Mryb to Jerusalem in 950 B.C. to meet Solomon, the King of the Jews. This was my first novel. It still needs polishing and is the back burner while I work on another project. I’ll get back to her soon.

After the Queen, I wrote another novel, Anthra’s Moon, a YA fantasy about a young girl named Ysabel who journeys across a dangerous, unknown land to rescue the baby Princess Alys. The royal child was abducted by a monstrous bird called the Anthra, while Ysabel was tending the baby.

Anthra’s Moon is almost ready for publication. I’m trying to decide if I should go the old fashioned route and send my ms to agents who accept unknown writers or self-publish.

Can I do both? I’m ready to self-publish; I enlisted the help of an excellent editor, Joanna Rose to edit my novel and tattoo artist Pete Davies to do the cover art. All I need is to post my book on Amazon Kindle and I’m off, I think, I hope. We’ll see.

Join me on my adventure and I’ll share with you the toils of the road, like facing your self-doubt and vowing that yes, indeed, you can and will write your novel and at that moment (happens every time) you’ll receive a gift from your glorious muse, like the solution to a problem you’re struggling with in your story.

And I’ll discuss what I’ve found helpful from other writers: “The first 12 years are the hardest,” is my favorite tip.