October 22, 2012

What I learned from finishing my novel

Let’s be honest. For most of us, completing our book (which I have done twice in the last three months) means starting a new one. There won’t be agents waiting breathlessly checkbook in hand, or (if we’re lucky enough to have an agent) publishers in a frenzied bidding war over the power of our prose.

I’ve finished three books and neither of these happened. In fact, the only reason I knew I finished was because I was too f*** sick of the story to edit one more line.

This time, maybe it’ll be different. I’m not counting on it even though I have an agent who has guided me through the edits. I’m already telling those few who know I’m a writer how much I grew personally by writing this book, and that what I’ve learned from the process is more valuable than any crass money and fleeting fame inherent to being a published author.

But since you ask, I’ve made a list. Here’s what I learned from writing this my third unpublished book:

  • hope springs eternal. Have you ever met an ex-writer?
  • writing is your muse’s circadian rhythm. Every time you put your pen down for the last time, you start again in the morning
  • to NOT write a fourth (likely unpublished) book would be as likely as putting toothpaste back in its tube
  • the grass is always greener on the other side of a book. Always
  • few things are less interesting than a friend’s unpublished novel. That’s why I have beta readers
  • God must love unpublished authors because he makes so many of us (replace ‘unpublished’ with ‘Indie’ if you’d like)
  • I’ve transcended the belief that book sales means authorial success. I now realize I’ll have to settle for a sense of personal fulfillment and a cup of coffee
  • over-editing results in nightmares

That’s it. You now know everything I’ve learned from writing a book and you didn’t have to spend two years, eleven months, twenty-four days and eight hours in the foxhole learning it.


Jacqui Murray is the editor of a K-6 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculum, creator of two technology training books for middle school and six ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blog,Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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