Month by Month Recap

Four and a half years ago, I started writing what I always referred to as ‘the book.’¬†I¬†wrote the first bits (~50k words) of ‘the book’ back in 2012, in the downtime at my banking job. I then took a 15-month hiatus from writing to¬†travel through South and Central America with my brother.¬†When I came back in December of 2013, I had to figure out what¬†I wanted to do with my life.¬†I tried to move to London.¬†That didn’t pan out. I then thought about¬†getting a full-time marketing/content writing job here in Boston, but¬†that didn’t feel right either. Finally, in May, I revisited ‘the book,’ and realized¬†that I wanted to finish it. I wanted to¬†give being an author a shot.¬†So, I began to pour my energy into this project.

Two¬†years later, and I’m still pouring away. ‘The Book’ is now an epic fantasy series called¬†The Heirs of the World,¬†and I’m on draft five of book one.¬†It’s been a ride, that’s for sure, and the ride’s far from done. Along the way, I’ve kept a little timeline of my journey on a month to month basis, where I¬†identify¬†breakthroughs, low points, key emotions, and a few other things in between. In essence, this is a¬†brief recap of the past 28 months of my¬†life.

2014

  • May – OK. I‚Äôm going to go for this. I‚Äôm going to try to write and publish my book. Nervous as hell.¬†
  • June – Cool! I kinda like this whole writing thing. It feels good. I think I can do this!
  • July – First third of book¬†out to 30+ beta readers. Soooo nervous.
  • August – Don‚Äôt talk to me when I‚Äôm in the zone, writing at the coffeeshop. Ever.¬†You’ll scare away the muse and I’ll be mucho grumpy.¬†
  • September – Hired as¬†editor of ¬†Philly Curren Magazine! Hooray! Also, moved in with my parents…at age 28…hooray?
  • October – Beta reviews are coming in, and they’re quite positive! I think I‚Äôm almost done! Home stretch!
  • November – Shit. Shit! Just realized I have no plot. SO far from being done. #everythingischanging
  • December – Second round (first 2/3 of book) out to 40+ beta readers. Scored a 3-month house sitting gig, and moved out of my parent’s house. Progress, progress.¬†

2015

  • January – Dude! People other than my mom like my book! It’s definitely improved. Some people¬†really like it!¬†
  • February – Aw shit. My world building is shallow and unoriginal. In short, it sucks.¬†It’s going to take some intensive surgery to fix that.
  • March – Man, I have no money. I moved into a cheap basement apartment in Somerville with my brother. It’s dark and cold down here.¬†We have named it Bag End.¬†
  • April – Complete Draft! I have a complete draft! Someone get this man a¬†drink!
  • May – Shit. My complete draft is horrible and makes no sense. ¬†I rushed it and was not true to my characters.¬†
  • June – I‚Äôve realized I will probably never have any money. Ever. Sigh.
  • July – Picked up a serving/bartending job. Started personal therapy and emotional work. The job should¬†relieve some financial stress, and therapy should¬†help me understand myself and therefore better understand my¬†characters. Steps forward, baby!
  • August – Therapy has been¬†very heavy. I find myself crying sometimes, out of the blue. I don’t want to get out of bed. I’ve barely written anything these past two months. I think this is depression.¬†
  • September – Took a week-long writing retreat at a cabin on a lake in the Adirondacks. Writing retreats are incredible! I just wrote my face off. And reaffirmed that I’m a truly horrible swimmer.¬†
  • October – Met an agent at a book signing! He read my prologue, and said he wants to see the whole draft when it’s done! Holy shit! The fire under my ass has been lit. #amwritingfaster
  • November – This is what having a deadline feels like. Pulling 10-14 hour writing days.
  • December – This is what not making much progress on a deadline feels like. Spoiler – it doesn’t feel good.

2016

  • January – I have writer’s block. For me, this is not staring at a blank page, unable to write words. I can write words. I just don’t know¬†how the hell all of the different pieces of my story can possibly fit together in a way that makes sense. I am 100% blocked.
  • February – Note to self – learn how to set realistic expectations and deadlines. I thought I could finish and polish my draft in 4 months. I was wildly¬†mistaken.¬†#amwritingslowly
  • March – MAJOR plot breakthrough. That block is broken, broken, broken! I finally understand a key character’s deepest motivation, which has made everything else fit together. Also, went on a massive rock climbing trip to Kentucky, which cleared my head. Let’s DO this!
  • April – I have very little¬†time to write because of my two ¬†jobs. I’m stretched thin. ¬†But I’m making some money. That’s good, right?
  • May – I am reading some of the classics, and¬†have¬†learned what lean writing means. Time to bring out the shears. Thanks for modeling, Ernest.
  • June – Writing retreat #2. It was not as productive as last September, but it was good for me.¬†I hit my own reset button, and feel refreshed. Conclusion I’ve found? I need to rearrange my priorities.¬†
  • July – I cut down some responsibilities with my two jobs, and I’m back to writing every single day. New goal of October for Final Draft. Come onnnnnn, Jonny!¬†
  • August – I set up a website, and I have a blog now. That feels good, and it feels a little selfish. Who really wants to hear all about my life? Also, I’m at 62% with this draft, and slowly creeping forward. #justkeepwriting

That brings us up to the present. I turn 30-years-old in 3 weeks, and am hoping to hit 70% on this draft by then.¬†As a wise man once said, “Progress is progress.”

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