Aimee Horton

Just Keep Swimming.


I don’t know about you, but the beginning of the book is probably when I’m at my most EEKY. That is totally a word by the way.

It’s understandable, after all, the first few chapters…or even pages can make or break it for a reader. So while I do try my hardest to write a first draft taking Hemmingway’s advice, I can’t help but wobble, and not just because I’ve had a lot of pizza.

Last week I managed to write six thousand words. Which, while is not as many as I wanted to write (10k a week would be good), I am still pleased with. After all, with the exception of a couple of hours on Friday morning, it was all done on the iPad in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner.

My new Bluetooth keyboard has turned into a godsend. I used to use scrivener, but as they still haven’t managed to produce an app, I’ve had to put it to one side, at least until draft 2, or even draft 3.

Instead I am using word and Dropbox. It’s working surprisingly well. I can work on either device whenever I have 10 minutes to sprint and be up-to-date. There’s no messing and it feels good.

It feels good to have a new routine. It feels exciting to feel my fingers clunk on the keyboard and the words fill up the page, the story becoming more than the rough outline I started with.

I love that people love Dottie, I really do. My grumpiest mood can be turned upside down in a second when somebody happens to tell me they really enjoyed a part of the story, or that she made them laugh or think. I’m excited that readers are excited about the next story. What started off as me indulging my own need to write, has ended up with people asking when the next one is coming. This is amazing. However, here’s the thing, and don’t roll your eyes. As exciting as I’m finding writing her new story, I can’t help but thinking,…

What if I let you down?

What if you hate Dottie as she gets into more scrapes? What if she’s tired and boring? The list is endless, and you just have to keep plodding on. THE FIRST DRAFT IS SHIT AIMEE!

This is true. But a book isn’t like a painting or a song. It’s not there in front of you, to listen or see. You have to commit, and what if I don’t produce something you want to commit to?

This is something I can imagine all writers feel. After all, what can be worse than bearing your heart and soul and nobody taking any notice?

So I’ve turned, a little earlier than usual, to a few beta readers. Some who kindly dealt with the full first draft of Mothers Ruined, and a couple who have read the books as a reader, not seeing the mess of drafting.

This has been amazing, they’ve come back with feedback “I’m not sure I’d expect Dottie to do that?” “Would that be happen?” and a couple of suggestions on areas I’ve put >MUST FIND OUT MORE INFO HERE<.

So what next? Well this week I write another 6-10k worth of words. I keep going, and before I know it my book will be a quarter of the way through, then a half, then three quarters. It’s easy when you write it like that!

I will reward myself with cups of tea, and sneaky Reese’s mini cups, and a catch up of Series 5 of The Good Wife while I’m emptying the dishwasher. I will just keep swimming. I hope. Either that or I will go to the gym and stick my head in the sand.

How about you? How do you keep swimming when you’re starting to dawdle?

Muddled Manuscript