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My Writing Journey

I'm not naturally creative, so I struggled initially and still do...

Hi there,

We are in March already. Doesn't time fly? I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with all the rain we are having. Today is the driest and sunniest we've had for ages. Long may it continue!

This month, I want to tell you about my writing journey so far. Although relatively short, it's been interesting and insightful. There have been ups and downs, including procrastination, writer's block, imposter syndrome and lack of conviction. All writers, at some stage, go through such phases. The good news is that you can and do get through these difficult times. It's a matter of patience, self-belief, support from family and friends and commitment.


Introduction – the beginning.

I have been writing fiction for almost four years and have self-published three romance/suspense books called the 'Tom Stevens Series' and a free prequel to the series 'Rich Boy, Poor Choices.

I started my first draft over twenty years ago, but a promotion at work stopped any further writing. It's an excuse many aspiring writers use, but I could no longer find the time. Now I'm retired, I can commit myself to writing.

I completed my original draft, revised it, and sent it to an editor. Receiving positive feedback encouraged me to finish the book, which was soon ready for self-publishing, except I didn't know how to self-publish.

Enter my daughter and son-in-law. Their computer knowledge and skills were far superior to mine, so we self-published the book together. My son-in-law designed a website, and my daughter proofread the script, formatted the book, and downloaded an appropriate book cover. Without their input, my manuscripts would probably be languishing in a drawer somewhere. I am extremely lucky to have them on my team.

It was a proud moment to hold my first book in my hands. Two more have followed, and another is waiting in the wings.


Mistakes I've Made Along My Journey

The three basic mistakes I made included:-

1.     Not planning my book

2.     Not learning about the art or craft of writing a novel

3.     Not learning about marketing to sell my book



Planning My Book


My planning was practically non-existent. I wrote by the seat of my pants, which is to write what comes into my head and let the story evolve progressively. (called pantser style as opposed to being a plotter or planner). My first two books were written like this.

However, the more I got into writing, the more I realised I needed some sort of plan or outline, and I changed to using bullet points as reminders. Now into my fifth book, I tend to use a bit of both but still prefer the pantser way. It suits my style.

Research shows that it doesn't matter which approach you take. Famous authors have used both.


Craft of Writing a Novel

My journey into fiction writing hasn't been easy. I'm not naturally creative, so I struggled initially and still do. Although I was prepared to put in the hours, I wasn't sure of the procedure. I should have researched the basic rules of engagement before I even began to write my story. Please don't make the same mistake. Take note of the following before you even start to write.

The Craft of Writing consists of the basic elements that make your story readable, including the following strategies:






point of view.


The Five Commandments of Storytelling are:

Initial or inciting incident

Progressive complication or turning point





The Foundation of every Compelling Story needs:

A protagonist

An antagonist




If you follow the above guidelines for your story, you won't go far wrong.




I knew nothing about this process until I finished my book. Then I discovered this should have been my starting point, according to most book publishers. You write a book to sell, don't you? Marketing is, therefore, a must. It is the writer's business and responsibility to understand and undertake the process of learning how to market your book. Writing is difficult, but marketing moves the bar up a few notches. It's a lot to digest and takes up much of your time. Writers write! We are not salespeople. I'm certainly not. Researching how to market was and is a minefield. The internet is inundated with information from publishers, authors and coaches.

It was at this point I almost went into meltdown.

There was so much information to read, and I read it all. I didn't want to miss anything out. If I didn't have time to read, I would print it out to read later. I was caught in a trap which I couldn't escape from. Now, I have seven large box files of data. Does anybody else do this?

What I found annoying was that most of the articles, podcasts, and videos I read or listened to told you what you should be doing BUT not how to do it unless you were prepared to pay hundreds of pounds to buy their products. I know the people portrayed as having the answers have to make their money; that's their business, but I wish they would reduce their charges.  


Conclusion – present time.

Up to now, I have enjoyed my journey into fiction writing. I'm still a newbie writer and learning the craft, and that's the problem. I want to concentrate on writing, but I know I need to market my book to get sales. If I'm not selling books, I'm not making any money. It's a catch-22 situation at the moment.

In this article, I have tried to respond honestly to the problems faced since I became a writer. I won't pretend it has been easy because it hasn't. There is plenty of help and information to absorb online. If you are anxious about your writing, I urge you to persevere and take encouragement from this article.

Writer's block, procrastination and imposter syndrome can affect us all, BUT you will get through it with the right support, research, advice and determination.

Good luck. I hope you will find this useful if you feel overwhelmed.


Useful resources:-

Written Word Media,

Belinda Griffin – ‘SmartAuthorsLab’

Writers Helping Writers

Alliance of Independent Authors

Derek Murphy

Sandra Beckwith

Reedsy Learning

Brian Bernie

Dave Chesson

Derek Doepker

Rob Eaga

Alexa Bigwarfe

Happy reading and writing,

Mansel Winter

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