Writing my first ever novel was a terrifying experience, but it taught me many things that I can now use in my future efforts. We all have to start somewhere and I suppose you could argue that writing a full-length novel was a pretty tough place to start, but nevertheless, despite the fear and anxiety that it created, I can now truthfully say it was a truly awesome experience.
Is it any good? I have no idea! I guess my "beta readers" will tell me that sometime in the next few weeks. Today I sent it out to eight very, very different people to read, and I'll see what the feedback that comes back is like.
What I do know is that it was my baby, that I nurtured and cared for, for a number of months. Initially I was at a loss as to how I could possibly write what turned out to be an average length novel of around 112,000 words, in 21 chapters. My technique was fairly simplistic, but I think very workable. In my head, I knew the start of the book; I knew the basic premise and I knew how I wanted it to end, so all I really had to do was fill in the big chunk of nothingness in the middle.
I never had a "road map", if you will, of how I wanted it to develop. I just adopted a very straightforward approach, similar to that of recovering alcoholics (one day at a time). In my case it was just one chapter at a time. I would decide on the theme and action I wanted to portray in the particular chapter and write it. Whether it all hangs together, and makes a cogent, interesting and meaningful tale, only others will decide that. For me, it is a good yarn, with some hard-hitting messages. I'm pretty proud of it...but then I AM slightly biased.
As an experience, it is something I would strongly recommend to anyone who believes they have a tale to tell. It took me 54 years before I realised what I wanted to be "when I grew up". If I have learnt anything over these past three years that I have been here in The Philippines, it is this:
1/ Whatever is your passion in life...that is what you should follow, and follow it with everything you are and can be.
2/ Life is NOT a "dress rehearsal"...you don't get a second take or a do-over, so love what you do, and do what you love. Anything less is second-changing you and the people you love.
3/ Nobody else is responsible for what happens to us in this life...we are the masters of our own ships and the rulers of our own universe. We can spend our entire lives blaming other people or outside events and happenings for our current situation, or we can take control and change the only thing we have any real control over...OURSELVES. Choose to be happy...choose to be positive and choose to follow your bliss and you will be amazed how easily things will fall into place, just the way you envisaged they would, and finally;
4/ This is the most important thing of all - never cease being grateful for the blessings you have. However small they may seem at any given time, they are blessings, and you need to be thankful for them. There is always something you can be grateful for - even if it is just another day alive on this awesome planet. Gratitude truly is the key to happiness. As an old friend of mine was always want to say; "It's not rocket science".
Firstly, to my son Christopher, a rare literary talent in his own right, who gave me the courage to write when all I wanted to do, was procrastinate. He selflessly spent hours reading my drafts and always providing honest, at times cutting, but always useful criticism...Thank you bud!
Secondly, to my beautiful, darling wife; Thess, who never once doubted me and every day filled me with enthusiasm and drive to carry on. I love you babes!
Finally to all the people who encouraged me - my "beta readers" and my family back in New Zealand who have always supported me in my sometimes, disaster prone, life to date.
Maraming, Maraming Salamat! (Many, Many Thanks!)
When I first started this journey of self-fulfillment, my number one ambition was to be a successful, top-selling author and although that ideal hasn't changed, it is no longer the driving force that motivates me to sit and write for hours on end.
What motivates me to write now is the need to express myself, and for me, the best way to do that is via the written word. I write for me...and I just hope other people can enjoy also my ideas and thoughts, but that is something outside of my control, so it is something I do not even concern myself with anymore.
Will "The Second Coming" be published? I hope so. I may have to self-publish it, but I hope I do see my dream of a "real" book with my name on it, come true. Is it critical that it gets published to validate me or to motivate me to write more - absolutely not! I am a writer - I am an author and I will be until the day I die..............AND I LOVE IT!