First Novel Journey
“Writers write,” said the published author.
I was at the Pflugerville library’s special Valentine’s Day event – a panel of romance novelists talking about their books and how they got published. At the time I had two partially written manuscripts stuck in the middle and an intense fear of the internet. The writer suggested that I start a blog. This terrified me.
What would I write about? I didn’t want to do a mommy blog, because it just seemed like it would beg for judgmental comments, and I never considered myself an expert at parenting. Should I write romance scenes from my book? But then if my mom read it… What on earth would I write about?
At the time I was chubby (or as my doctor put it, ‘borderline obese’) and decided to enter a bodybuilding competition as a last-ditch effort to lose the weight. I knew absolutely nothing about bodybuilding other than a vague idea I would need to eat boiled chicken. That’s it! I’d blog about the competition. It had a beginning (me feeling frumpy and overweight) and an end (the competition) and the middle would write itself! No one expected me to be an expert, so I just wrote about the day to day struggles. My husband, ever the smartass, came up with the blog name. He said, “You’re going to run our business, potty-train our son, train for a bodybuilding competition, and because this isn’t enough, start a blog? ShesLosingIt.com.” Brilliant!
The blog turned into my memoir of the same name. (You can find it HERE on Amazon.) I also wrote a companion book called the S.L.I. Method with meal plans and workouts. (You can find it HERE). Memoirs and how-to books are fairly straightforward.
But a novel?
I started writing it during the pandemic. My father-in-law had a massive stroke and my husband, Henri, spent weeks in California caring for him with his sister, Cindy. His dad kept going in and out of the hospital…during the days of Covid before vaccines. When he went to hospice at Cindy’s house we drove out with our kids to be with him. Cindy’s backyard has a steep hill that she cut into to create seating areas and gardens. I opened my notebook and began to write.
My characters didn’t live today, they were back in the 1730s and they came from all over the place. Virginia colony, Bight of Biafra, Scotland, London. They were whispering their stories and I jotted everything down, until, for the first time in my life, I actually finished a manuscript of a novel. And it sucked! (I know, because I read it.) But that’s okay, because everyone knows that the first draft of anything sucks, unless you’re Lin-Manuel Miranda. I’ve spent the last year taking my time to learn the craft of writing and storytelling and have been ferociously self-editing. It’s still not ready, but I’m making progress. Last week I sent it off to The History Quill for some beta reader feedback.
I feel like I’m back in that first bodybuilding journey. I had the passion to start. I know where the ending should be (published) and now I’m going to blog about the middle part to try and get there. I hope you’ll follow along on my journey and will post interesting things I discover about writing, storytelling and publishing along the way.
P.S. – Have you written a novel or do you want to write one to?
(c) Lisa Traugott 2022. All rights reserved