First up, this is my second draft of writing this post.
I didn’t know how I wanted to write it. I knew I wanted to write it, but I had no clue when or how or what i’d write, but now just feels like the right time.
I’ve been working on something that I’ve sort of kept secret. Not entirely secret – my friends know, my family know, and a handful of people that have been around me when I’ve been drunk and overly sharesies and chatty know, but you guys don’t.
The reason I didn’t talk about it sooner, considering I share pretty much everything with you, is because I didn’t want to jinx it. I didn’t want to get excited about something that might not happen.
Maybe it’s the reason I haven’t had as good blog chat recently as I’d have liked – y’know, my thought provoking posts have been more on the difficulties and downsides to blogging and the internet than anything else. I haven’t been bashing out lists. I’ve been doing a bit more beauty and fashion.
OK, so here goes the story.
I’ve been trying to write a book.
I was approached last year about putting together a book proposal based on the foundations of my blog. It’d have a few lists scattered in, sure, but it would mostly come down to my honest perspectives on things that affect us young, ambitious twenty-somethings today. I’d have chaopters dedicated to social media envy and mental health, chapters about WHEN THE HELL SHOULD WE HAVE BABIES, and chapters about how hard keeping friends is once you’ve left university and dispersed. It would be me discussing, in detail and with a smattering of research, the things society doesn’t talk about. The things no-one warned us about before we grew up.
The 13 chapter book is all of those things written in the tone of my blog, written in more detail than a blog post or 3 could even imagine – it was every thought that’d ever entered my brain being layed out for the world to see.
I’m writing all of that and I’m getting so passionate and excited about this book – but here’s the other part of the story – it’s *probably* not happening.
After two 17,000 word drafts (seriously – book proposals are far more painful and horrific to write than anything in the world, including my 6,000 special project on the future of online journalism) and a lot of emails and agent searching, it’s just not looking like something that’s going to take off.
Am I sad? I thought I’d be all cry-y and down and devastated, after all this is officially the first thing I’ve ever failed at. Well, aside from a few relationships that were never meant to be and my Biology AS Level which I quite a few weeks into sixth form. But I’m OK, like really OK.
Writing the proposal, mapping out the chapters, trying to explain why your book will work – it’s all so much of a giant accomplishment in itself that I think I’m just feeling kind of proud of myself and impressed that I actually managed to pull it together and I’m too busy riding on that feeling to notice that there’s not actually going to be a book.
I mean, there could be a book. There’s still that hefty document just chilling on my desktop, ready to be accepted by an agent and publisher, but at the moment it’s redundant. And I guess if the worst thing that comes out of this is some great already-written blog content, then that’s more than OK.
I feel like I got into a habit of saving my best brainwaves for my book rather than my blog – I didn’t want any of my content to overlap, and maybe, if I can accept that my literary career is over before it started, I’ll start to delve into them in posts within the next few months.
So why isn’t my book happening? There was some mixed feedback – some people just didn’t find my words magical enough. The content wasn’t stimulating enough, didn’t hit the spot in the way they wanted it to – and I guess that’s the feedback that’s hardest to digest because it’s saying that my writing isn’t strong enough. Then there’s the other feedback – that it’s a difficult book to market and sell – the demographic, women 18-35, aren’t buying non-fiction books like this, it’s a niche market I guess, and unlike a lot of other bloggers and YouTubers writing books at the moment – I’m not a celebrity.
Some people wouldn’t have written this post – they wouldn’t have announced their failure at something to the wider world, but I felt like it was important. And also it serves as a bit of an explanation as to what I’ve been up to when I haven’t been posting, and to why I’ve been struggling with all the balancing of life.
Writing a book proposal is mammoth so I can’t even begin to imagine what it takes to write a full book. When I first started trying to get words down onto paper I was still juggling two days a week at Metro – and it was megz hard to get the motivation.
In order to polish up my second draft I actually had to take time away – which is when I swanned off into the depths of Norfolk back in March. You might remember that just after I got back from Budapest with Chris, myself and Augustus Bloom (our car, obvs) made the 90-miute drive to The Hayloft, a cottage looked after by Sykes Cottages.
I had, obviously, wrapped up my iMac in various coats and put it in the boot. Duh.
So yeah, I spent two dreamy days in the midst of nowhere with very little phone signal just writing away, undistracted by ironing or Netflix or blog comments or searching for a dress to wear to my brother’s wedding on ASOS. I snuggled up on the sofa and typed away, drank masses of Diet Coke and ate ALL the Kettle Chips (*might* also have ordered a Chinese for one, but what’s life without sneaky takeaways, right?) and made the best version of something that I could.
I really struggled to motivate myself to write my sample chapters because they were about 7,000 words long each. That’s not just sitting down with a cup of tea to bash out a blog post – that’s actually having to stop and think about where you words are heading next, stopping to check you’ve covered every relevant thought to that subject matter, stop to make sure that not only does it make sense, but that it still sounds like Hannah.
Which is the main reason why I had to do a Cameron Diaz out of The Holiday and swan off to the middle of nowhere. (I had THE best bath – so no book deal, but a glorious, long, relaxing soak which is *basically* just as good).
I don’t know how I expect you guys to respond to this post, it’s a weird one. I hoped the day I wrote it would be more OMG GUYS BOOK LALALALA BOOK LALALALA BOOK LALALALA IT’LL BE OUT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, ALL BE EXCITED AND PRE-ORDER IT ON AMAZON. But we can’t all win at everything.
I’m proud of where I’ve got to in my writing career and I’m beyond excited to see where it goes next – but if it doesn’t involve a book, well then that’s just A-OK too.
In the meantime I’m going to eat leftover Easter chocolate and start planning my next stay in a Sykes cottage in the middle of nowehere because that babe does good things to your soul. This time I’d ideally like some pals with me to enjoy the HOT TUB and drink champagne – who’s game?