Back in November 2012, I attempted my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those not in the know) novel. It was an amazing task to undertake – 50,000 words in 30 days. I can’t lie, the idea was and still is mindboggling. But I set out with a 1600 word-a-day writing goal and an extremely loose idea for how I wanted the story to play out. It was the most amazing effort I’d undertaken (but not the hardest – that will always be finishing a half marathon, 13.1 miles across San Francisco). I loved it. I loved every single painful, frustrating, and exhilarating minute of those 30 days. I was working 50+ hour weeks and all I could look forward to were the couple hours I’d carved out each night before bed to bring my characters and their story to life.
And much to my eternal surprise, I did it! I wrote more than the 50K words, and my first novel, Half Breed Queen was born. It took me another couple weeks to actually complete the draft. I was so proud of myself and of my book. 70,500 words in total. My masterpiece. I couldn’t wait to show the world that I, Lori Ann Hendricks, had written a novel so good it fairly jumped off the pages. And it really did. The bad grammar, jumpy storylines and horrendous descriptions nearly jumped off the pages and beat me about the head and shoulders. I was fascinated by how really bad that first draft was. I was relieved to find out that not only was that normal, but churning out that much text in such a short amount of time wasn’t something everyone could do. Whew. Inhale, exhale, release.
So after several rewrites (eight is still several right?) and only God knows how many passes at editing, I felt confident enough to let someone read the draft. I asked my friend’s twin daughters, who at 17 years old were in the right demographic, to give it a read and give me their thoughts. By golly, they loved it! And even though I’m sure some of it was due to the fact that I’d known them forever and they’d never say anything to hurt my feelings, I used their enthusiasm to keep me motivated toward polishing my book.
Next came the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. It was a game changer for me. My first writing conference (and definitely not my last), the WDAC taught me so much and I met some amazing ladies who, like me, were struggling to have their voices heard. The sessions were enlightening as well – maybe not so much for the content, but very much for the question and answer session and the conversations they sparked. I loved every minute of the conference (not to mention the metric ton of street vendor pretzels I consumed).
So now, I’ve completed my manuscript. Well, to be completely honest, I’m about 80% done with it. I have had it professionally copyedited (shout out to FirstEditing.com). I bought a lovely book interior template from BookDesignTemplates.com, and launched an Indiegogo campaign to support preorders and try to raise a little marketing money. It seemed like a good idea at the time. And I can’t say it hasn’t generated some conversation. Many of the people I know said they’ll wait until it’s on Amazon or B&N. I can’t really fault them for that. But I am so excited about this endeavor. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and until the last few years, I’ve been too self conscious to give it any real effort. I have been plagued by the idea that no one would give two whits about what I had to say and so I kept my stories to myself. No more. That night, November 1, 2012, after a long day of working for the man, my life changed. I embraced my bliss and decided that even if no one ever bought my books and even if no one cared what I had to say, I was going to write. My love for science fiction and fantasy storytelling was going to guide me. And I have never been happier.