Cathy Bramley: Dreams and the Power of Perseverance

Cathy Bramley: Dreams and the Power of Perseverance

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be a published author by now, I definitely wouldn’t have believed them. In fact, at that point I was ready to give up on my dream of writing a book altogether. Luckily, I persevered and the first and second parts of my new novel, Ivy Lane, have now been published by Transworld as an ebook, with two more ebook shorts to come this year and then a full paperback to follow next year.

My dream had been simple: to write a book that would make people smile. My first effort, which will never see the light of day, was awful. And if it did manage to raise a smile, it was probably for all the wrong reasons. At the time, I thought this meant that I would never be able to write a decent book, but now I recognise that I needed that early manuscript to learn my craft.

I also realised that, although dreams are lovely things, if I was serious about writing a novel, I needed to have a plan. So my dream became a goal with deadlines and objectives and specific word counts per week. Those words added up and, by last summer, my first book, Conditional Love, was ready to fly.

I self-published Conditional Love. I chose this route because a) it was fast and I’m quite an impatient person and b) my day job is in marketing and I thought I could use my what I know to promote my own book. My longer-term plan was to write a second book, secure an agent and a traditional publishing deal. Miraculously, all these things have happened.

I am still at the beginning of my writing journey and I am learning all the time. In my opinion Ivy lane is the best thing I’ve written so far. In another year’s time I hope to have improved further.

If you are where I was this time last year, then perhaps these pointers will help you on your way:

  1. Read books in your chosen genre. Make sure you know what readers expect from a book in this genre. Understand the rules of your genre and break them only if you are confident that you are doing so for the right reasons.
  2. Do not put up with Writer’s Block! If you can’t think of the right words to start a scene or a chapter, skip forward until you come to a part that you can write and then go back once the creative juices are flowing (and if that fails, get up and go for a walk!).
  3. Be firm with yourself. Books don’t get written by those who watch hours of TV, or who insist on a long lie-in on a Sunday morning. Set yourself a deadline or a word count and stick to it.
  4. Attend as many courses, workshops and writing events as you can. You’ll learn new skills, meet like-minded people and develop a support network of writers who will pick you up when you’re having a bad day and cheer madly for you when you’re having a good one!
  5. Start building your author platform sooner rather than later. Whether you become self- or traditionally published, your public profile is your responsibility. I set myself a goal of having 1,000 Twitter followers and creating a blog and Facebook author page before I published my first book.
  6. Keep reading other people’s success stories! Knowing that others have achieved their goals will give you the determination and confidence to keep going – and possibly give you a few ideas on how to get there yourself.
  7. And, finally, write what excites you, what forces you to get up early before the rest of your household is awake. Because if it excites you, chances are it will excite someone else too.

The third eBook in the Ivy Lane series is out in September, click here to pre-order your copy today.

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