Home   |   LCS Prints Store   |   About Me   |   FAQ   

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Number Four, Saved from the Drawer - IWSG April 2023


Welcome to IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of  Alex Cavanaugh.  To find other contributors, click here. 
Thank you to this month’s co-hosts: Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre.

April’s optional question: Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

An author with whom I am acquainted once wrote that she kept working on her first novel because after all her effort, she “didn’t want it to end up in the drawer.” Persistence paid off. Her first novel was published to much acclaim.

As I’ve written here previously, my first attempt at a novel occurred ages ago, after I completed the lessons in The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron. While I was proud to finish a draft, I had zero clue how to edit my initial mess. That dilemma led me to take a Grub Street writing class, which inspired me to join a writing group. I took more classes, started another novel, joined a different writing group and completed two more novels. Somewhere along the line I came to believe that my first unfortunate attempt had been lost due to a corrupt thumb drive.

That brings us to two summers ago when I was struggling. I’d managed to get myself writing again after losing my sweet Tim, but for the most part all I’d been doing was completing these blog posts and editing (again!) my two most recent novels. That lasted until I queried them a bit more and ran out of gas.

I had (and still have) no desire to begin writing another novel from scratch, but that summer I was pawing through some files looking for something and I found a printout of that awful first draft from years ago in my desk drawer. It had been beside me all along.

Thankfully, the thing was as much as mess as I remembered because it offered a challenge when I needed one most. Almost two years and several drafts in, I no longer shudder to read it.

So, do I remember my first novel? Well, yes. Technically, my first novel is now my fourth. I worked on it this just morning, ever so grateful to have pulled it out of the drawer.

What was your first book like? Was it published?


Jan Morrison said...

Good morning dear friend! What a great story. I found this whole exercise of sorting through various novels I'd attempted or finished but maybe not, very illuminating. I'm so glad you are still involved in your first story and I look forward to reading it someday! I've been getting up early to work on my next Nell book and feel pretty good about it altogether right now. But those feelings are as impermanent as everything else so I won't get too carried away. Have a great day Liza and hope it is a beautiful one as it appears to be here so far.

Jemima Pett said...

Oh, that's such a wonderful story. Sitting there, waiting until it was needed again. I've had one book that changed from number 5 to number 6 because I got well and truly stuck on it. Much better for being left a while!
Thanks for joining in the IWSG today.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's awesome you pulled it out and are working on it. My first story became my first published novel (after a complete re-write) so you just never know.

Diane Burton said...

What a great story! Enjoy your writing (or editing or rereading). Writing should be fun, even when it's a job/career.

Nick Wilford said...

I like that. You came full circle. And it's nice to know that first work was salvageable. It makes you a rarity among us, I think!

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great that you pulled out your first manuscript and started working on it again. I want to pull mine out--also a mess--someday too.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love how sometimes providence provides us with what we need when we need it. I'm glad you found your first (and fourth) book again. :)

Jen said...

This is such a beautiful story. I have a draft like that, hidden away in a box in an attic but also sitting here, in an external hard drive begging me to chisel away at it just one more time...

When finally finished, my first book will become my fourth and I laugh at the serendipity of it. Thank you for sharing this. Glad to have found your blog.

- Jen

pjmaclayne3@gmail.com said...

I've tried rewriting an older book I had tucked away, and found it easier to start from scratch

Carol Kilgore said...

My first book is still in the drawer, but I have robbed it for bits and pieces that I've used in later books. I still like the main characters, but what I see in my head about them is not what's on the written page. Maybe one day I'll tackle it again.

J Lenni Dorner said...

That's awesome that you took the time to make it better. Love that.
Happy IWSG day! Here's a giveaway- rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4fa90ac761
It's April, so I'm focused on the #AtoZChallenge.
Proof of Existence, book two in my dark urban fantasy series, is out this month.
I'm running another giveaway on my blog.

J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Reference& Speculative Fiction Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge

jabblog said...

Whoops, I lost my comment.

Your experience just shows how important it is sometimes to let things sit for a while. Revisiting writing done some time ago can be refreshing and take one back to the time it was written, reigniting ideas and feelings.

Joanne said...

glad your work got to simmer for quite a while before being found again. And now, very glad you are persisting with it. I'm sure time added some new perspectives and skills. Keep on going - I have faith you'll get it where you want it and some publishing luck and timing will kick you up another notch.
Hope you have a good Easter weekend - take care.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liza - how lucky that you found that first attempt and were able to give yourself a goal ... sounds an ideal process. Good luck now - cheers Hilary

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I'm so impressed with everyone's first novels. My first full-length manuscript is my college memoir. All the best with your present work-in-progress. Stay strong, my dear!