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In other news, I wrote a book.

Posted on 4 min read

So, no biggie or anything, but this weekend I finally finished that book I’ve been writing this year. 

Well, the first draft, anyway. The very rough first draft. Is there a thing that’s rougher than a rough draft? Because my draft is rougher than that. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t even mentioned it now, actually, because mentioning it makes it A Thing, doesn’t it? Like, when I say I wrote a book, you’re probably picturing something that vaguely resembles, well, a book, right? But what it actually resembles is a really, really long blog post: the kind I hammer out in a fit of inspiration (Or, you know, emotion. What can I say: some people eat their feelings, I type mine…) (I eat them too, though. Hello, Cadbury’s Marvellous Creation Chocolate Bars!),  and then think, “Yeah, I better not publish that one, because it’ll just make me sound like a whiny, emotional wreck, and I will cry into my pillow when no one comments on it.” It’s like THAT, basically.

(The book doesn’t have as many sets of parentheses as this post does, I promise.) (It does, though.)

this is the beginning of anything you want

“How did you feel when you finished it?” my mum asked when I broke the glad tidings on Saturday evening. And honestly, what I mostly felt was relief. I’d expected to feel a sense of elation and achievement if/ when I finally finished it, but was it happens I just felt relieved that it was finally done, so I could stop feeling guilty about it and get back to feeling guilty about other things instead. And also so that any time Terry says something like, “Amber, I can’t believe you pocket-dialled your own phone!” I can say, “Yeah, but I also wrote an entire book: how many books have YOU written, huh?”

(I’ll only really be able to use that one on people who haven’t written ANY books, obviously. If I tried it on someone like J.K. Rowling, say, that would just be embarrassing, wouldn’t it?)

It was a bit underwhelming really, probably because it isn’t actually finished yet: there’s still a huge amount of editing and re-writing to be done before I’ll consider it even close to being finished, so maybe that’s when I’ll really start to feel like I’ve achieved something?  Or maybe I’ll just keep on feeling like I shouldn’t really mention it at all, because it’s not a real book?

I mean, a real book has a plot, and characters, and all that kind of stuff, doesn’t it? My book, meanwhile… well, it also has a plot and characters, but the characters are me and my family, and the “plot”, such as it is,  is my life: specifically the part of it concerning That One Time My Fiancée Got Kidney Failure and It Felt Like the World Had Ended. (That’s not the title, by the way. Maybe a good tagline, though?) It’s a memoir, in other words. Which is weird in itself, because: a) I’m not famous and: b) I’m not even dead. Most of the people who write memoirs are at least one of the two (They’re ideally not dead when they actually write it, obviously, although in my case there were times when I did feel like I might be…), so I’m a little bit worried that when I tell people I wrote a memoir they’ll just be all, “Seriously? How self-important ARE you?” (That’s the point when I’ll mention I make a living by posting photos of myself on the internet, obviously. Because that will definitely challenge that particular assumption!)

The thing is, though, I may not ever publish this book, but I wanted to write it. I kind of felt like I needed to get it out of my system – to write it all down, tell the stories that had been niggling away at me for years, and which I’d never really found an outlet for. I don’t know why, but it’s always felt important to me to record those little details, even if I’m the only one who ever reads them, and now I have. So it’s the story of my life, and of a particularly hard part of my life at that: but it’s also a story about the nature of personal identity, about growing up, and about the little stories that make up our lives.

It’s a very rough draft, and it’ll take a lot of work to get it even close to “done”.

But it’s a start. That has to count for something, right?

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30 Comments
  • Chiarina
    October 27, 2015

    Many, many, many congratulations on this achievement, and I do hope you decide to share it with the world in the end, when you are fully satisfied with it. I will buy it if you do! 🙂

  • Jennifer
    October 27, 2015

    Congratulations! Finishing a rough draft is a huge achievement. And I agree with the previous comment, if you publish it I will buy it.

  • Miriam
    October 27, 2015

    Amber, this is HUGE! What an incredible achievement. Congratulations on writing it, I remember you saying how much you always wanted to write a book. I will buy it as well when it comes out!

  • Anca
    October 27, 2015

    Congratulations!! This is such an achievement!

  • Erika
    October 27, 2015

    Very cool! This is an accomplishment for sure. I’m another one that would love to read it. Congratulations!

  • Media (yeah that's my real name)
    October 27, 2015

    Hi Amber, I have been your blogs reader since 2008 (really? That long?), since you still had the Dollface and Rubin blogs. I remember you had a word counter on this blog for a book that you were writing, couldn’t wait until the counter would say “It’s done!” or “Enough words to be considered a book” or something. Congratulations on finally finishing it! It’s probably a different book from the one you wrote back then, no? Either way, I’ll def pick one up for my kindle when it’s out!

    • Amber
      October 27, 2015

      If it was 2008, that must’ve been something different – I just started this one this year! Thanks for reading for such a long time, though, that’s amazing!

  • Andrea@WellnessNotes
    October 27, 2015

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    “Yeah, but I also wrote an entire book: how many books have YOU written, huh?” – reason enough to write a book! 😉 But seriously, the topic of your book sounds very interesting. Your life experiences certainly warrant a memoir! And it sounds like it was therapeutic just writing everything down, which is wonderful in itself! But I’m sure many people will want to read it! I know I read your blog posts about that time a few weeks ago and definitely would want to read more!

  • CiCi Marie
    October 27, 2015

    Woohoo – well done!! I hope you do finish it properly as I’d definitely like to read it. And I don’t even like reading memoirs, so can’t say better than that 🙂

  • Nellie
    October 27, 2015

    Good for you, Amber! I’m looking forward to reading it.

  • Porcelina
    October 27, 2015

    Fabulous news, that’s a super achievement. So many people start and then never finish projects like this (yes, you, Porcelina…). Have a bit of a celebration, and if you want a free proof-reader I will volunteer my services (genuine offer, I like reading!). Leave it for a bit now perhaps and then go back to it with fresh eyes. Well done you! xx

  • Myra
    October 27, 2015

    Woohoo!!! Congratulations, I am so proud of you for finishing your book. Many authors say they write their own story first, as they have to get it out of their head before they can write anything else. I am looking forward to reading it when you publish it.

    Finishing the first draft is an achievement, but I wondered if you are doing the editing yourself as it is difficult to be objective about something so personal, or are you working with an editor who will help guide you at this stage.
    Like you I don’t plan in advance, unless it’s an academic exercise when I have to do a lot of research, but even then I write the body and later the introduction as I know then what I “will” write, and finally the summary, as I know what I’ve said.

    • Amber
      October 27, 2015

      Thanks, Myra 🙂 It’s not anywhere near the stage where you’d bring in an outside editor – there’s still a lot of stuff I’ll want to add or remove before it gets to the final editing stage!

  • Ingrid
    October 27, 2015

    Congratulations Amber! I love your posts and I cannot wait to read your book. I can imagine that comes at the end of an incredible amount of hard work and perserverance (as well a little bit of magic) (and some tea). Wooho!!

  • Cat
    October 27, 2015

    Congrats, Amber! I absolutely love memoir, and I think some of the best writers at the ones who can talk humorously and intelligently about their own lives, even if they haven’t climbed Mount Everest or something.

  • Jen Letts
    October 27, 2015

    Congratulations! How exciting!!!

  • Sarah Rooftops
    October 27, 2015

    Hey, well done! That’s a huge achievement!

    And, yes, some stories need to be written down – it helps process them, doesn’t it?

  • Elizabeth
    October 27, 2015

    Congratulations Amber! I hope you manage to get it published (of course you will. Any publisher who doesn’t immediately reach for his check-book upon receiving your manuscript is clearly mad.)

  • Suzy Turner
    October 27, 2015

    Congratulations on getting the book finished, Amber. It is hard work, I know (I’ve written and published ten over the past five years), and although it is only the beginning, you’ve done the hardest part. Editing and re-writing is much easier, although a tad more time consuming! I hope you do publish it, I’m sure it’ll be a huge success!
    Suzy x
    http://www.suzyturner.com

  • Felicity
    October 28, 2015

    I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!

    I know firsthand what it’s like to write a novel, and honestly? For me, the hardest part is the rough draft. I feel like once you get that part down you at least have something to work with, you know? Although others feel that the revising is the hard part, and it’s difficult in its own way, but still better than having absolutely nothing.

  • Nicola
    October 28, 2015

    Don’t think I’ve commented before but I’d definitely buy it. Love your blog!! x

  • Lynn
    October 28, 2015

    Hey Amber,

    I’ve been reading your blog since 2009. I’ve had a shoe-crazy period, a retro-dress crazy period,… but nowadays I always return to your blog for your awesome and hilarious short stories. I would definitely read your book.
    Thank you!

  • Livia
    October 29, 2015

    Many congratulations!!!!!

  • Paula
    October 29, 2015

    Congratulations on finishing your book! And good luck on the next phase!

  • Ghalia
    November 1, 2015

    *Does a happy dance* Congratulation, lovely! Forever Amber is, by far, my favourite of your blogs (I may have mentioned that a few times by now). I love it for its stories and even more so for your writing. I think that’s the main things that’s made me continue to read your blogs all these years – I really like and identify with your writing. & so, needless to say, I will definitely buy your book if you ever decide to publish it 🙂

  • The Reader's Tales
    November 11, 2015

    Congratulations Amber,
    I want to read your book, I really do! Please keep us posted when it gets edited. Can’t wait. Thank you for sharing ;-))

  • The Reader's Tales
    November 11, 2015

    Opsss forgot to mention
    I’M PROUD OF YOU!

  • (Mostly) Yummy Mummy
    December 13, 2015

    Of course that counts for something that’s amazing news! My writer friend always says that the first draft is about telling the story to yourself for the first time if that makes sense? Huge well done!

  • Leah Ferguson
    January 21, 2016

    Congratulations! That first draft is an amazing, massive accomplishment! My first book (a novel, though, called All the Difference) was published in North America this past fall, and I can identify with so much of what you say here. Much luck (and courage and faith and wine) as you start editing it–onward and upward! (And for the record? It’s totally a real book. 🙂

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