It was October 2020 when a tiny spark of ambition ignited somewhere in a small room in Birmingham. An aspiration is based on wishful thinking, not knowing if it will come true.
It was October when I discovered a specific book genre that intrigued me, which led to publishing my own book. It was a genre of murder mystery campus novel. A list of notable examples would be Donna Tartt’s ‘The Secret History’ and M.L. Rio’s ‘We Were Villains.’ If you have been following my blogs from the beginning, I have published a blog that featured books under this specific category, which you can find here.
I’m an avid reader and an aspiring writer. I have always been writing from as young as 12 in many ways, shapes or forms. I have written short stories, articles and – embarrassingly – fan fiction. Therefore, it was natural for me to feel inspired writing under those genres and plotlines. At that time, I didn’t even think much of it. I was only scribbling it down on a piece of paper, brainstorming character names and their background stories. I was mapping out different types of plots it could follow, but I never got up to the point of writing a prologue. Honestly speaking though, I was stuck in writer’s block, and I was only looking forward to reading all these books.
By December, I had finished reading ‘We Were Villains’ and ‘The Secret History,’ and at that moment, I was so inspired that I revisited the ideas that I had written in my journal two months prior. Surprisingly, amid university works, I had managed to come up with a name and a short summary. It was initially titled ‘The Lonely-Hearts Club.’ I was able to write up to about two chapters before sinking into the dark hole of writer’s block, and this thing called assignments.
The writer’s block lasted at least four months, and then I was able to pick it up again in May. I had made significant changes such as the title, the character names, made some tweaking in their background, and rewrote the whole two chapters. The prologue was the only thing that remained the same. This was also when I heard of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. At first, I was hesitant. I was scared that it would be a scam, and I would only end up being robbed. Fortunately, after thorough research, I was willing to move forward with this decision. By June, I was able to write up to five chapters, about a thousand words each, and then I took a break.
August came by, and ideas were bursting with colours, filling every sense in my body as I tried to type as fast as I could on the empty, blank Word document. I typed so quickly as I didn’t want the ideas to escape my brain and for me to accidentally forget about them. I got up to fifteen chapters overall, and by September, I was back into a slump. I was unmotivated and anxious. Everyone in my family and some of my friends were already notified that I had a book in the works, ready to be published by the end of the year. However, I was able to get back on to writing by October.
By November, I had finally finished my book. I was ecstatic because 1) I managed to finish it way before the publishing date, and 2) for me, it meant that things were going to get real, that I was actually going to make a name for myself. It’s going to be engraved on the internet forever, and more than a thousand people would be able to see this and know my name. It was bizarre to think about. I revisited, reread and rewrote some chapters in my book, making sure that I had zero grammatical errors.
December rolled around, and I was a nervous wreck. I even thought of backing down and not publishing it. I had so much self-doubt, and it was holding me back. I was scared that the plot was too basic or had too many plot holes. Maybe it doesn’t make sense, or it’s a rubbish book overall. My mum kept reassuring me and even offered to proofread my book to ease my nerves, but I didn’t let her because I wanted it to be a surprise.
19 December was my birthday, and it was also the release of my book. I thought it would be good to celebrate my 20th and achieve my dream goal.
I couldn’t be more grateful and thankful to be able to grab this opportunity and pursue it. If 12-year-old me saw that I had achieved a dream that I have dreamed of for so long, she would think I’d be lying.
So to everyone reading this right now, you will reach that dream as long as you put your mind to it. If I can do it, I know you can too. 💗
And to those who are interested, ‘Bitter Secrets’ by Uriel Bongco is available here.