I’ve mentioned before that I had no aspirations of becoming a writer. I wanted to write a book – as people do when ticking off an item on their bucket list – to try my utmost at the unfamiliar, a challenge. Although that sentiment remained, I did slowly drift towards thoughts of publishing. At the very least, I wanted to have three physical copies on my bookshelf. With each step, I pushed back the finish line, allowing room for other challenges. There’s plenty to be found on the how of writing books, although I came across the necessary information in stages, rather than at once.

In early January 2022, I joined Fiverr, and employed a developmental editor. I received constructive feedback on the three books and, in March 2022, I hired another one. By then, my story structure was in proper shape. Next, a line editor. By the end of April, I was ready to publish.

You’d probably already guessed I wasn’t, not even close. We all know how ignorant our five-year younger selves can be, or in my case, even a single year. If you want to publish with one of the ‘Big Five’, you’ll need an agent, and you have to query them. It’s both a tedious and interesting process, but I’ll spare you the details. In short; it didn’t go as I hoped it would. My inbox remained empty of manuscript requests, and unfortunately, I never received feedback. I would soon learn the why of it through other avenues.

The phenomenon of online critique fora caught my attention. The Online Writing Workshop gave me the opportunity to critique the works of other writers, and I posted chapters of my own. It was to be a much needed learning experience. My first (revised) chapter received an editor’s choice award; a nice way of saying it’s promising stuff, with plenty of room for improvement. Stellar people, with insightful critiques. It had taken longer than I expected, but my perfectionism finally woke from a deep slumber and kicked into full gear: I had arrived at another beginning. There were but two choices ahead: learn how to write, or quit.

That seems an odd choice. Didn’t I just spend two years writing three books? The reason I didn’t start with the skill set first and also sent my perfectionism into hibernation is because I needed to write the story first, to drown myself in my imagination without shackles attached to my enthusiasm. Otherwise, I would’ve given up a long time ago. Know thyself, and so and so. This past year and a half, I’ve dedicated myself to reading books and blogs and vlogs on the skill of writing, and applying what I learned to the trilogy. Along the way, my goals shifted once more; to write novels people will enjoy, both in story and in style. Which brings us to the current pit stop, with an unknown number to go before the first book hits the shelves.

How to write a book

Mati Si, China

Scroll to Top