Something a lot of people probably don’t know about me (unless you read my blog) is that I’ve been writing novels for over a decade. I remember the exact moment that I decided I wanted to be an author: I was walking across LSU’s campus (with my long, neatly straightened hair #throwback) to Grace King Hall, and I suddenly just knew. It’s one of those weird memories that will stick with me forever, and I can still picture the lush, green oaks, the old residence hall in view, and I believe it was even cloudy that day.
Yes, writing is a hard game to break into, and I never expect to make more out of it than a hobby, but that doesn’t mean I won’t make the attempt. I know it takes a lot of talent – talent that it is questionable whether or not I have, but I at least have had the perseverance to try.
I started my first novel in 2006 and finished it in 2011, but don’t let that fool you – most of that period was procrastination, and was probably more like 5 or 6 actual months of time spent writing. Also that novel was bad.
I wrote my second novel starting right at the end of 2011 (literally a day before the new year) and finished the rough draft 5-6 weeks later. I actually self-published that one under the name K.J. Holdeman and shared it out via social media like one time. It was the first one I published, and I was – and still am – pretty proud of it. I’m currently re-editing it and will publish it under my real name within the coming months.
My third novel was written in 2015 (might have spilled over into 2016 a little, I can’t remember). It ended up being a convoluted mess, despite being fun to write. I didn’t publish it, and won’t ever.
My fourth novel is Iterate, which I’ve clearly published and am really excited about. This one was a blast to write, and I have a sequel for it in very early planning stages, but I’ve got some other ideas I want to get to before starting that in earnest.
That might sound like the end of that story, but it’s not. I’ve got folders on my computer and posts on my writing blog with dozens and dozens of abandoned first chapters, a handful of outlines, and hundreds of thousands of words of partially written stories that never got finished for one reason or another. And just in case you think that’s an exaggeration…
None of those are the completed novels I didn’t publish (which together are about 110k words). The longest one pictured above was actually a rewrite of something (not pictured) that was already around 20k words (I kept the first ~4-5k words and rewrote the rest). I have so many stories left off around 5k words that I didn’t bother screenshotting below 7k.
My current goal is to continue improving, write more, and become better at marketing myself. Qualified, this means:
- Challenge myself. I don’t like doing atmospheric writing, but maybe it’s because I’m not great at it. I need to fix this by creating more atmospheric settings.
- I write for about 5 hours a week when I’m working on a novel. I know this because it’s how I spend my lunch breaks. I should dedicate more time on the weekends.
- I don’t know how or where to advertise my work except social media. Being a successful self-published author requires marketing, and that means I have to figure this out.
Anyway, I guess that’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about me and my writing journey.
If you want to write your own novel, but don’t know how to start, I wrote a beginner’s guide that might interest you.