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Friday Speak Out!: Climbing the Mountain: After the First Draft

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by Lydia Rose Brita

I heard someone say that in life, once you reach the top of a mountain you find yourself at the base of another one.

During the first year of the pandemic I wrote the first draft of a novel that had been in my head for a decade. When I wrote the ending I was in pure disbelief that I had actually finished something shaped like a novel! I really felt like I had climbed to the top of the mountain and was probably done now with learning more about writing, right? Now I just got published and got lots of money?

Wrong - it was just the beginning!

Redrafting my novel has been challenging not because of the writing itself but because it made me have to look in detail at my own shortcomings as a writer. To look closely at your work is to inevitably come to the conclusion you’re not the artist you want to be - yet!

I’ve spent the past year learning how I write the best story possible. I’ve redrafted it a few times now, tweaking the plot - in the end I used a hero’s journey structure, changing my writing routine - now I write 30 minutes a day and watching endless clips of writers talking about writing on youtube to feel less alone - Elizabeth Gilbert is amazing.

I’m learning how to really fill out characters, combining multiple characters into one, simplifying the story and enriching the characters themselves. I’ve refined my writing style, which is dialogue heavy and I’m trusting it more and more.

And most importantly I’m learning to just do it.

I realized that I spent so long overthinking things rather than doing it that I would never get my novel ready to send to publishers. And I am determined to send it to publishers next year.

My 29th birthday was on 22nd February and one of my intentions for the next year is to send my completed and edited draft to a publishing house that sounds perfect.

Hopefully my 30th birthday present to myself is going to be getting my book published!

I don’t know when my book will be published but I do know that if I keep climbing I will get to the top of this mountain. I know because I’ve done it before and will no doubt do it again and again.

My best piece of advice for anyone at a similar stage to me would be - enjoy the climb - because that’s all we’ve got!

* * *
Lydia Rose Brita is a writer based in London. She works in communications and is currently working on her first novel, a coming of age contemporary YA. 

Her Linkedin page is: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lydia-brita-78a769218/

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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