Reflections on writing

They say everyone has a book in them, but I’m not sure how true that is.

Writing a book is a long, gruelling process. Your story needs plot, timing, originality, emotion, and a host of strong, diverse characters. Acquiring a literary agent can take over 100 personally adapted query letters. And even after signing with an agent there is no guarantee you’re going to land a publishing contract.

Becoming an author is no easy feat. It is draining, time-consuming, lonely and anxiety-inducing. It leaves you questioning yourself and your decisions on an eternal loop.

Because of this, I believe only those with persistence and passion can truly have a book in them.

So, why bother?

Because I bloody love it.

Channeling all my weirdness into a fantasy world keeps me sane. Although, sometimes obsessing over imaginary things like, how many ingredients to use in a Transplanetorium spell, can make me seem anything but.

I recently completed my first proper book (not my first ever book, but the first book I was truly happy with and willing to send out into the world). I cannot adequately express the nerves of sharing this piece of my heart and soul with outsiders. But I needed beta-readers, so, I sent to a handful of people.

The response was honestly overwhelming. Three people finished the book in two days (which still feels ridiculous to me, considering how many hours it took to write). I made a lot of people cry, which was a bizarre but incredible feeling. Two readers told me it was one of the best books they had ever read (as someone who asks herself every single day “Am I good enough for this?” that was the best feedback EVER). Perhaps most importantly, all those who finished the book asked me to write a sequel.

Hearing people say things like, “Does Benji gets his toys back?” and “I hope Lily batters her dad.” and “I can’t believe you killed ********!” is just so surreal. Before now, I only ever heard those names and scenarios in my own head (or via Microsoft Sam), so to hear them come to life is such a special kind of special.

It’s amazing to know that my readers have favourite characters. That they could not stop reading. That I made them not want to go to work and lose sleep and cry and laugh.

It was the encouragement I needed to know that I was doing something right. It made the years of plotting and practising all worthwhile. It assured me that, more than anything else in the world, I wanted to be a writer.

-ALO

 

 

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