Kristen Otte

Finding Love and Laughter through Story

Measuring Growth as a Writer

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'Chilli Growth' photo (c) 2009, Sam_Catch - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Last fall, I decided to start writing a short story series inspired by the life of my pug Zelda. I had so much fun writing the stories that I turned the collection into a chapter book for kids. After I released The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale, I received many positive reviews and reactions from children and adults, so I started working on the second Zelda book in October. A month later, the first draft of my second Zelda book is written with a publication date set for late December. The first Zelda book took me 9 months from start to publication. The second will be about 3 months from start to publication and I’m thrilled with the much quicker process.

So what changed?

First, the writing process was much quicker on my end. I had a general outline for the book from the start and I was able to write chapters quickly. When I knew the plan for a chapter, I wrote it within about an hour’s time.

Second, I hired an editor and cover designer before completion of the first draft. Therefore, my project was on their schedule ahead of time. For the first Zelda book, I took the process one step at a time and ended up spending a few weeks at each stage waiting.

Finally, the timespan to write, edit, and publish the first Zelda book was hindered by life complications this past spring. With the illness and passing of my stepfather, I lost many hours of writing time (which is okay, I wanted to be with him and family during this time). Maybe without these life complications the first Zelda book would have been finished in 6 months from start to finish.

When I think about the difference between the two books, I am very happy. I am especially ecstatic about the writing time. I can write faster than last year without losing quality. This gives me even more encouragement for the future as I want to produce more books quicker. Similar to many other aspects of life, you only get better at writing with more practice.

I’m happy that I’m learning more about the business side of writing. I understand the need to arrange editors and designers ahead of time and when to schedule. Some of these aspects will be key when I transition into full time writing some day in the future.

Most importantly, I’m really excited about the second Zelda book. I think it’s better than the first. I created it with a story arc in mind and it came together beautifully. I can’t wait to share it with you soon. More details will be coming on release date and storyline in the coming weeks!

All of this tells me that I am growing as a writer. It may not be in leaps and bounds, but I’m moving forward. I’m making progress.

How do you measure growth as a writer?

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