I have been working on my novel, Undeniably Underestimated, since May 2014. I have been editing since May 2015.
The editing process is long and frustrating, especially when dealing with writing from the 14-year-old I used to be, who did not understand how to help the story flow naturally, use higher vocabulary and metaphors, or really know the theme of the book.
In the last 3.5 years, I have updated and edited this book more times than I can count. I basically have the first chapter memorized after how many times I have read it in my head, out loud, or grumbling because I was sick of the editing. But, despite the hardships, I did accomplish a lot.
I gave it more story-line, more realistic characters and plots, and made it more interesting to read. It grew from 320 pages to 477. In 2014, I won “Reader’s Choice Award” on the writing website I used in middle school. I had so many friends read sections of my books to help me gain another young adult perspective. I read so many chapters to my parents for help in editing.
I have talked about this book practically nonstop for almost five years now.
And I have been struggling with it, too.
My senior year of high school, I hardly wrote at all, leaving me empty and full of tired inspiration that could never come out due to my busy schedule. I found it so frustrating to read the same words that gave me little satisfaction every time I had motivation instead of writing something new.
And after each time I read through it, I still felt like it was not good enough.
The advice I was given by so many people, especially my mom, was to set Undeniably Underestimated aside for awhile and come back to it once I work on something else. I rejected this idea for so many reasons. I wanted to finish my first completed novel, otherwise, all this time would have been for nothing. I am also stubborn, so I did not want to feel like I am giving up on it.
So I have had many story ideas the last couple years that I have written down in one of the millions of notebooks I have, but I have never attempted to start one in fear of losing my first novel.
Then, in July of this year, I decided that since I was starting college and focusing on the future, my studies, my career, I was going to direct my real, genuine attention on writing, take my mom’s advice, and put Undeniably Underestimated away for now.
This is when I started planning a new story, a novella. I had a sketch of it listed on a sheet of paper, not really anything outlined, but a general theme. I had only those notes and a Microsoft Word document with the first 150 words.
The theme is what drove me to my conclusion of putting my first novel away for the time being. This theme is one of my strongest beliefs in life, in humanity… that kindness is key. Recently, I had one morning that I was thinking about this story, kind of thinking of what I wanted to write, and it suddenly hit me. Everything.
The plot, the characters, the major message behind it that I want to convey, something that is extremely important.
Earlier this week, I sat down and wrote out my overall theme and put it to the outline, creating most everything I need to write the story. I spent a couple of days between studying and work, just pinpointing everything I want to write.
Sunday after work, I sat down and wrote as much as I could, and I have been doing the same thing all week.
I am finally focusing on writing, not just editing. I am creating, and I have motivation. It is a miracle that I have this.
It has given me a reminder of why I want to write for a living, why I fell in love with it to begin with.
I am so excited to continue with this new journey, and I am already 19.34 pages in. I have set some new goals of when to, hopefully, be done with the novella (title pending).
Writing is a beautiful thing; I wish I had taken the advice earlier and had not been stubborn. I will come back to my first novel, but it is time to begin something new.
Wish me luck!