Six months or so after the onset of COVID, after we all realized we were in this for the long haul, I had a serious phase of self-reflection- which I believe lots of people did. Being faced with the fact that we were, in fact, finite beings in such a powerful way was a wake-up call.
As I sat working one day, reflecting on how we hadn't been to the office in months, and the novelty of that wearing off, I asked myself, if this was going to be my last year on earth, what do I want to achieve? Is this all I want to be doing? And it was then that I decided that I would begin working on my first novel.
I had always been a bookworm since I was a child, and it was time to put that passion into action. Fast forward to over a year later, and I am still working on my novel, which I thought would be published by now. The reality is this whole process has actually been a much more challenging one than I thought it would be, but one that I am thoroughly enjoying and learning so much from.
Here are some lessons that I'm picking up along the way:
Your novel topic is going to keep changing, and that's ok!
I previously dedicated a full blog entry to this, which you can check out here. When I set out to write my novel, I was working in a completely different direction than what I am now working on. Writing is a trial and error process. You won't know what it is that you want to write about until you begin writing.
2. Stop writing the story that you think people want to read.
A point that really resonated with me when I attended the launch of Kind Seminars, and that spoke to my experience. I stopped worrying about what people might like to read, and instead, focused on the genre that I enjoyed reading the most, and went from there.
3. It is going to take much longer than expected.
Yup! More than a year in and I'm still on the third chapter. This fact used to bother me, until I read about the journeys of other writers and realized that the creative process is one that can take years. Mapping out your characters, changing your mind on the novel's topic, research (yes there is a lot of that involved!), and self-editing - it all takes time. You can't rush your creative process.
4. Life will get in the way.
I have a full-time job and working in PR, your hours are quite unexpected. You never know what your day will be like. Then there is your life - your time at the gym, with your family and friends, social commitments, and the list goes on. Unless you are disciplined enough to set time aside and work on your novel, it will never happen. The same rule applies to any goal you are working towards.
5. Enjoy the process!
We tend to always fixate on our goal. Once we achieve one, we move on to the other, which is a shame because we miss enjoying the process along the way! Since I began working on my novel, I have learned so many valuable lessons, experimented with new creative avenues (took up sketching and painting for instance), had amazing conversations, and met new people. While publishing my novel is the ultimate goal, the experiences I am gaining along the way are just as fulfilling.
I'm excited to update you on my journey as I keep going, and hopefully, inspire anyone who is reading this post to pursue their passions as well. For those who want a sneak peek into my novel, I regularly release snippets on my Instagram page.