Not A Walk In The Park

Post by Alexandra Garcia

I swear this post is not meant to be discouraging! With that being said, let me explain why I gave this post that title.

There is no way to sugarcoat it, so here it goes: Writing is hard (sometimes) and the path to publication is even harder. 

The bright side is that it is also very gratifying, and this comes from someone that hasn’t been published yet.

Let’s start with some steps:

The Idea

The most exciting thing for me is the book idea. The idea sometimes come in the most ordinary way (Going to work and listening to a song) or even a scene from a movie… and sometimes it comes in the most unusual way: One day I was traveling back from visiting my parents and I sat down next to a soccer player who started recounting her game play-by-play. (I was so engrossed with her story and her as a person that I was already imagining a novel with plots and twists for her and her teammates).

Where I’m going with this is, when you have an idea: Write it down!

You might not even write a novel or a short story out of it, but the idea will remain there just in case you ever decide to expand it.

Developing and Expanding 

This part to me is where I lock myself for two days and create a three or four act structure outline and eventually move on to chapter by chapter outline. (This part is fun, but is a little frustrating because I see plot holes and I haven’t even started writing!). 

Which reminds me: Every writer is different. 

In my case, during this part of the process, I am also developing my main and side characters. (Personalities, flaws, redemption arcs, etc).

I used to be so hard on myself when I discovered the words plotter and panster in the writing community. I wanted to fit into a mold and be a plotter just to have a structure in my story, and I soon realized I hated it.

Everything was so cookie cutter and my characters didn’t have a chance to grow which in reality it was my imagination being caged by my outline.

It took me a while before throwing my completely structured point-by-point outline out the window and when I did; I loved every second of it.

I discovered something about myself: I am a character driven storyteller. I am willing to sacrifice an entire plot and outline for my characters.

This didn’t come without its hiccups because discovering that also led to more work during the editing process. (I will get to that in a moment)

The Writing

Okay, now that you have an outline, a plot and characters, what do you do? Write!

This should be the easy part, right? Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. Depending on the genre that you are writing, there are certain guidelines to follow as far as word count. I write romance YA and NA, so typically aim for my first draft to be from 65,000 to 75,000 words.

Technically, that should be enough for a novel, however, during a first draft I tend to glaze over some details and don’t add so much description and guess what? That is okay.

The point of the first draft is to exist.

To have that idea written down in some shape or form. One of the things that I had to remind myself to do every time I finish a draft, no matter the grammatical errors or plot holes I have in it, is to CELEBRATE!

I am completely serious.

Sometimes we get so caught up on what is the next step that we forget to enjoy the moment and our successes.

The moment you write THE END in your 1st or 30th draft should be an epic moment of celebration.

Editing 

After that hooray moment, my least favorite and most dreaded step in the writing process comes: EDIT.

Edit, edit and more edits.

Everybody has different strengths and editing for me is the one I constantly have to polish and work on. This step is where you take that first draft and read the story you love with all the mistakes such as grammar, plot holes and punctuation wrapped in one. This is the step for me where the imposter syndrome comes to play against me and I lose every single time.

If you are anything like me, you will second guess every word you have written. You will compare yourself to other authors and you will try or want to quit because you think you are not good enough. To all of that I have to say: DON’T.

Every word you have written is important because you wrote it. Every author and writer has experienced failure and a bad review. And every time you even consider trying or wanting to quit: Use it. I mean it, use it. Write about it.

I write all those self-deprecating feelings down and sometimes I use them for a moment in my story or a character trait for my protagonist or side character.

Use every experience to your benefit and onto your writing, because at the end of the day, what makes someone better is practice, practice, practice.

Road to publication

Once you are past the editing phase, there comes the query letter, synopsis and querying to agents.

Word of advice: Brace yourself, eat chocolate and watch a happy movie.

There will be rejections and a mantra I say to myself every time I receive a rejection: Is subjective. 

Not everyone is going to love your work, and that is okay. 

You just have to find that one person who will be as passionate about your project as you are. This is something that has helped me quite a bit with every rejection. I want an agent that loves my story and will champion my work with the same or at least similar passion I had when I wrote the book.

Closing Thoughts:

It is fair to say that the road to writing and publication is not a walk in the park.

And after reading the steps and the growing pains, I bet you are wondering: Why do you do it? Why do you subject yourself to rejection and so much work?

My answer is simple: I don’t see myself not doing it. I can’t stop thinking of my characters and the stories I create that deserve to be read. Writing is a passion and a creative outlet. I compare it to music. Musicians create symphonies because they just have to. It is something inside them. The same with writing. Embrace it and cherish it.

Sometimes the lines get blurry when rejection or the imposter syndrome get in the way and whenever that happens I go back to the basics and remember why I love it.

To me, writing is an escape and an anchor to my imagination. Is where my mind runs wild and free. Writing is where I forget about my problems and if I can’t, I pour them into words.

So in every questioning moment, remember to ask yourself: Why? Why did you pick up that pen and write? Why did you let the words leave your heart and mind? Why did they land on that piece of paper in the first place?

You know the answers and whenever you have doubts, hold on to them and keep going.


Alexandra Garcia is an aspiring YA/NA Fantasy, Contemporary and Paranormal Romance author. She currently lives in Texas with her husband and 2 pups: Jett and Maggie. She is currently writing her 3rd WIP (Work in Progress) and just like all her novels she is a constant work in progress.
You can find her here:
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8 thoughts on “Not A Walk In The Park

  1. Nice post! And you’re v. correct. New writers often get a whiplash when they learn there’s so much to the publication journey than writing a book 😂 So this post will def be a cushioner!

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    1. Thank you Savanna! It is quite a ride, when I was starting to actually researching the different publication paths, I was overwhelmed but in retrospect I wouldn’t change anything 😊

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  2. I usually get ideas from reading other books and seeing themes or subplots the authors brushed over that I’d really love to explore. And then it snowballs until I have a full fledged story idea! I enjoyed reading!

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