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

Friday, March 04, 2022
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!

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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:

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!


Angela Mackintosh said...

Lydia ~ Congratulations on finishing your draft and tackling your revisions! I relate to your journey, and learning how to enjoy the climb is so important because it's the work that matters most and nothing else is guaranteed. I'm reminded of the Octavia Butler quote, “You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” It sounds like you have persistence, and I have no doubt you'll write the best story possible. You also have a great goal for your 30th, and I hope you check back in with us when you're sending our your ms. Thanks for your inspiring post, and good luck to you and your WIP! :)

Lydia Brita said...

Thanks Angela! I agree persistence is the key, I had no idea writing stories since I was 12 would eventually enable me to write a novel. Thanks for the encouragement and I will definitely keep the community updated on my progress! :)

Andrea said...

I'm with you there, when I graduated with an English degree in 1991 I thought I'd learned all I needed to publish a book. Now I know that I will always be learning and improving. It was only recently that I realized I am a nonfiction writer. That has been my forte for years I just didn't recognize this. Now I'm happy with my trajectory.

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