Where the end of the beginning finally ends.
(My crude attempts at creating a sketch for what I want the cover to look like)
When I was younger, I liked to draw. I wasn't really that good at it to be honest, but it was a way to showcase what lingered within my mind, so I would oftentimes doodle here and there. I never really got into it, never learned how to shade or even draw that well, but it was still something fun I could do. Then my hands started to atrophy and joints started to lock. Now I can barely draw a straight line, let alone something resembling an actually decent picture. I've begun to worry now if soon I may lose my ability to handwrite... and eventually type.
On Nov. 1st, 2023 I started writing a full-length novel entitled 'A World of Wonder' based upon a few lingering images in my mind and a feeling I wanted to capture that I found difficult to describe. On July 1st, after several dozen rewrites, revisions, months of hard work and dedication; I finally completed that novel which had evolved into 'Beyond'. I sometimes find it slightly ironic that someone who can barely write a single page properly (let alone legibly) decided to write a book but... I did it.
This process was full of fraught, as I painstakingly wrote then revised hundreds of pages and spent countless hours sitting in front of a computer just reading and rewriting. It was honestly somewhat humbling having to go back each time and realize the many hidden mistakes scattered throughout my book that I'd either been too blind or too prideful to see. But by the end of all of this I'd have to say that it has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.
I'm not going to sit here and pretend that the act itself was one of constant exhilaration, as there were many moments when I questioned the meaning of what I was doing. But by the end the feeling of satisfaction I feel when looking upon my manuscript and being able to say that this thing which I have written is mine and mine alone is truly something I will forever cherish. It was also wonderful to see how my skills have slowly improved through this endeavor, teaching me things I didn't know about the way that I write and better yet, showing me mistakes I never knew I made in the past.
I never really realized just how important editing was until after going through this process, and hopefully in the future I'll remember that lesson. The first draft of the book was around 136,600 words. The second, was 122,500 words. As I have now just finished the final touches upon the third and final draft of my book, it has lowered to the amount of 115,500 words. When initially starting my edits between the second and third draft, I had thought that it wouldn't take nearly as long as it had between my first and second drafts, and I'd probably only end up removing 2,000-3,000 words in total. I had mistakenly believed that all I would need is just a single round of edits before getting feedback from my beta readers, before I could send it in. Now though, after all is said and done I can see just how important that final round of edits was between drafts 2 and 3, as I found so much room for improvement that I would've never have been able to find if I hadn't truly committed myself to it.
I wanted to write this book... and poured so much of myself into this book... because I don't know what the future holds. The reason why I bring up my potential inability to type and the losses that I've been dealt is because I truly cannot say or see what comes next. Throughout the entirety of my life I've always been able to predict to a certain extent what will come next, even if it wasn't anything specific. I of course couldn't predict the friends I'd make or the weather or anything like that, it was more or less a certainty that was promised to me that I understood, brought about by the decline of my body. I knew that I would go from elementary school to middle school, I knew that I would go into high school and take AP courses, I knew that I wouldn't be the best, but that I also wouldn't be the worst. I knew that I would go into a computer related field, get a well-paying albeit probably boring job, and live out the rest of my days in comforting monotony. It was as if I'd written out my entire life story before I had lived it.
It was something I had to do, as living with a disability had taught me that taking risks would lead to consequences that I couldn't endure. I used to take pride in the fact that I didn't dream big and thought of myself as more mature because of it. I knew that I couldn't pursue anything, because if something went wrong it could cost me everything. I couldn't afford the luxury of looking for something greater as I wasn't made for it, and it wasn't made for me.
But now, writing and actually turning What I Could've Been into a book, and now finishing my first ever full length novel, I realize that I was wrong. Every world I'd wandered before erasing, reality I'd conjured before destroying and fantasy I'd lived before murdering feel as though they would come alive in this moment. This moment where a dream which I have held onto for so long but had always prevented myself in believing in is real. That if I just take a single step forward, I'll finally be able to feel it for the first time.
Sitting here now, I don't know what the future holds. I have hopes, but I truly don't know what will happen. All that I know now is that I want this. Truly and honestly, I want this. In a world which I have felt has always denied me and defied me, crushing me with its gravity every chance it got, I'd always thought it a sin to want something beyond what I was. That I had to temper my expectations, not reach for the stars for fear that they would burn or vanish at my touch. But now, sitting here I know that I can't just wait for the world to happen. I need to dream, to try and do this however selfish and foolish that it might seem, as otherwise I know that I'll regret it.
So if by some miracle a literary agent is reading this blog post or perhaps one of my few readers who deign to gloss over these digital pages filled with my ramblings... I hope you'll take a chance on me, and all the stories I have written and have yet to write. I promise to do everything I can to ensure you don't regret it.
On Nov. 1st, 2022 I began writing Beyond.
On July 1st, 2023 I finished writing Beyond.
And someday soon, I hope to say that I published it.
Thank you so much for reading this blog post, and anything else that I have created. I look forward to making more in the future, regardless of what it may hold.
See you soon,
- Ud Din