On My Mind: The Downside of Growth

I’ve always been hungry for knowledge and extremely curious. I devoured books since I was younger, so when I went to university and I could pick courses about all of my interests, I was delighted. If money wasn’t an issue, I’d go for my n-th degree and be a student forever. That’s not in the cards though. I only have one masters degree and it has nothing to do with writing. Still, I’m a writer now. And a baby author, with two self-published books. Little did I know when I started on this journey, I set myself up for a lifetime of learning.

Keep studying

I’m sure you’ll have heard about the 10.000-hour theory by now. You have to spend 10.000 hours before you can be considered an expert. For a writer, aiming for a million words written is a good estimate. I call myself a baby author because I’m nowhere near there yet. This isn’t a million words published, mind. Just written. In your specific area. Because I’ve written more if I count my blogs and all the papers and essays I wrote for school. But academic writing isn’t the same as fiction. That’s what my teachers told me.

During my university years, I picked courses about literature, understanding narrative structure, and teaching literature, but I never took a creative writing course. I studied books and story structures but never learned to write. Nor did I ever get critiqued on my fiction. The first thing I wrote seriously was Guild Wars 2 fanfiction. The stories are still up on my gaming blog if you’re interested, but they’re the first things I wrote as practice.

I’m at a very different place now. I’ve worked with several editors, written stories of different length, and across multiple genres. I’ve learned so much. And I’m still learning.

Exponential growth

I’m currently in the phase of exponential growth studying writing. Reading craft books, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and analysis of stories helps a lot. But editors and critique partners have helped the most. When I got my latest draft back from the editor, he mentioned a few things I was doing wrong. We talked about it, I read a bit about it, and then put it into practice as I’m finishing up this draft to send him soon. While doing this, I noticed the quality of my work was improving with every sentence I rewrote.

Improving is good, don’t get me wrong. But if your work suddenly jumps up in quality halfway through the book, it comes across as strange. So I have to go back to the beginning of the book and rework that with the knowledge I have now. Even now, I know what I would change in my previous books to make them better. But I won’t. I can’t keep rewriting my old things because I’d never finish another book. Or well, not for the next five years.

This is the downside to growth as a self-published baby author. I learn as I go and each book will be better. This is a big difference with most traditional published writers who wrote six books before their seventh book got picked up. They’ve already years of editing, revising, and feedback under their belt. It pays off to not publish your first book in terms of setting the bar. I know I still have a lot to learn and grow as a writer and publisher, but I’m hungry. I want to learn.

Consequences

I’m not sharing this with you without a good reason. A few months ago, I announced Lucifer’s Favour, the sequel to Devil’s Deal, would be published in Q1 of this year. I want to push it back to half of April so I can make sure I’m happy with it. I wrote the draft of Lucifer’s Favour only last year, but I already feel like it’s nowhere near what I can do now. There is a lot I have to rework, both in the plot and in line-editing. With a few more week, I know the book will be so much better, so I want to give myself that time.

Devil’s Deal also has been rewritten after a professional editor gutted it, and I highly recommend you read the new version, even if you have read the previous one. If you own the old edition, let me know, and I’ll send you a copy of the new edition for free. You can request a review copy. ARCs and review copies will be available for Lucifer’s Favour and Beelzebub’s Bargain too. Check back here later for more news!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.