Exactly one year ago to the day, I sat down and began writing the first proper draft of my book. I’d written about 20,000 words of a veerryyyy rough draft the summer before, but… that was pretty much all scrapped. I managed to salvage 5,000 words, but that was it. It was, quite honestly, a load of rubbish.
So, back in January 2017, I grabbed a handful of characters who I didn’t know a lot about, a brief plot that didn’t have much substance, and got to work. This time, I was in luck: I got to 40,000 words before I had to put it to the side to tackle my dreaded AS-level exams. Seeing as though I’d written the rough draft back when I was doing my GCSE’s, I definitely don’t make things easy for myself. Something clicked with this draft, though, something that made me happy every time I added words to my manuscript. The characters sprung to life on the page, even off of the page because I couldn’t stop thinking about them; the settings I included became vivider, even more so than when I was writing them in the actual places I feature. Everything finally came together and worked.
I remember sitting in a café in Haworth after visiting the Brontë Parsonage for the first time, right around the time I’d first started writing it back in June 2016, and telling myself, “This is it.” This is going to be the book you finish, finally, after so many false starts. No more 1,000 word openings with nothing else to follow. No more giving up on writing. You’ve got this.
I’d like to think that the spirit of Emily Brontë was looking over me in that moment, because apparently THIS WAS IT. A book I’d finish seven months after starting a proper draft, query nine months later, and the book that ten months later would get me signed with a literary agent better than my wildest dreams. Thanks, Emily.
It’s been a moment of extreme highs and extreme lows (yes, the saying “blood, sweat and tears” quite LITERALLY applies to this book), but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I have no idea what the next year will hold for me and my mad group of book lovers but, whatever happens, I will always be incredibly proud of my first ever book and proud of myself for having the motivation and determination to finish it.
If you’re currently writing a book, other than invoking the spirit of a genius author, my advice is, of course: YOU’VE GOT THIS. And may 2018 be an amazing writing year for us all!