My Teenage WIP – The Ups & Downs Of Trying To Write My First Draft #SundayBlogShare

First draft

When one of my favourite bloggers contacted me to say she had a cracking guest post up her sleeve, I was so excited I did some high leg kicks and cartwheels in the garden. Sadly there is no photo evidence of this great celebration. 

Rita Bhatha from www.butismileanyway.com not only has a great blog but she is also one of the most supportive bloggers out there. Her comments have given me a lot of encouragement over the past few months and at times a chuckle or two.

So let me introduce to you – Ritu!


Firstly, can I just say a huge thank you to Lucy for letting me loose on her blog today!

I have loved reading her posts, relating entirely to the procrastination ones in particular, and I count the days to her fictional morsels!!!

And she was happy for me to take charge of BlondeWriteMore for a post!

Who am I?

My name is Ritu, and I am a blogger at www.butismileanyway.com, writer, mother, wife, and teacher.

Today, I would like to talk about one of my babies. It’s not quite at the baby stage now, more like a teenager though.

Way back, when we were just about getting used to writing 2000 as a year, rather than adding the 19 prefix to any year, something was born.

An idea was conceived, in my mind.

A story.

It was all there, the main characters, the skeleton of the idea, a hint at where the story would go and a possible ending.

I sat at my parent’s ancient PC and started to type.

Then stopped. And started. And stopped again. And started. And stopped… again.

This has continued for the last 16 years! And I am not as far into it as I would like to tell you I am.

But why has it taken so long, and why is it still not finished?

Where do I start?

Okay, let’s start at the beginning.

  • November 2000 – I felt an idea bubbling and started to write! Then we set our wedding date. So, I tried to write a bit but got caught up in wedding planning, and all that jazz… Baby WIP took a back seat.
  • September 2003 – I found my file with my saved WIP. Only 5,000 words written, but so much potential! I had to get writing again! Trying for a (real) baby was taking its toll, but surely living in the world of my character for a while each day would help detract from the pain of not conceiving. Hubby Dearest bought me a laptop of my very own for my birthday so I could sit and write! Wonderful! But the call of being a live-in daughter in law was also strong. A few thousand words later, poor toddler WIP was forgotten again.
  • June 2005 – OMG I am a mum! Lil Man was born! Seriously, do you think that after a few years of trying, that I could spend any time on anything other than my little bundle of joy? Sorry, Little WIP, but life just got in the way again…
  • February 2008 – my Lil Princess was born, along with another idea… something that overtook my poor Young WIP. Rhyming children’s fiction! One completed piece… but I fell flat when it came to illustrators, and two others started…
  • October 2009 – Sitting on my PC, I scrolled across the files that were saved on my hard drive… and a little yellow folder named Wedded Stress caught my eye! My WIP was nearing double figures in age now. I felt myself get excited again! I printed the 9,000 words that I had already written and showed them to a couple of my colleagues. The reactions were amazing. Why had I not continued? So with a renewed fervour I invested in a special notebook and started writing novel based notes. Character profiles, timelines, ideas. Oooh! This was what it felt like to be really writing! About 12,000 words in, being a mum of two and working started to interfere… again.
  • 2010 to 2014 – I revisited my Tween WIP many times. I started to write, then the writer’s block would hit. WIP became a teenager, yet seemed severely stunted in growth. Would I have to bury my poor WIP early?
  • November 2014 – Something happened. I discovered blogging! Oh, the joy I felt at allowing my fingers to run across the keyboard, typing word after beautiful word, and finding out that there were people out there who were liking what I was writing! I posted a few questions regarding writing a book.
  • August 2015 – I made the decision to make what I had written public. I wanted to get the feedback from those I considered real readers and writers, so I embarked upon a 7-week serialisation of my Teenage WIP. And the feedback was good! I was pumped! The only thing was I hadn’t figured my life into this new thirst to finish my story! I had recently been given a new position at work, as a full-time teacher, and the exhaustion I would feel every night was unreal. I would be able to write a quick blog post, and complete a prompt, but to sit down and just be able to write. That luxury really wasn’t mine. I considered signing up for #NaNoWriMo…but November was not a good month for me, when I put school into the equation…
  • September 2015 to August 2016 – I had never expected my first full year of teaching to be easy, but it was a true baptism of fire! One of the hardest classes I had encountered, and I needed the summer break to actually recuperate!
  • July 2016 – Somehow I was able to publish my very own book of poems, myBook.to/PoeticRITUals , but not a fiction novel…
  • October 2016 – I managed to open my file and write a few words more… My teenage WIP grew by another 1.000 words or so. And that was with the prompting of Sacha Black! She tried to crack her whip, to encourage me, but the words flowed in dribs and drabs…
  • April 2017 – Whilst being a member of the Big Up Your Blog group on Facebook, I came upon a blogger Gary Jefferies, from Fiction Is Food, a writer who I seemed to gel with on many levels. The joke hashtag #GaTu was born! Gary…Ritu…GaTu, see! And Gary took the time out to read my chapters. Boy, was my backside firmly kicked! Again, he had enjoyed what he had read, and he was flabbergasted at how old my WIP was now! Time to make plans!

Reading the journey of my Teenage WIP has made me realise I have to make time to do this!

So now it is May. And I have made a tentative decision. Unless anything major happens between now and then, I am going to attempt to dedicate my summer holiday, the month of August, to writing!

#RiNoWriMo – Ritu’s Novel Writing Month!

I may need to be a little less available on the blog… or at least be able to devote a couple of hours a day to write. I need to really create my storyboard again from scratch. I need to plan and be prepared. I need some writer buddies to gee me along and be there to constructively criticise me, and be able to remotely kick my butt as needed!

But one thing is for sure, this WIP needs to grow. I need to complete it before it reaches adulthood, or I may be known as the writer with the oldest WIP in history! Feel free to visit my legendary WIP over here!

https://butismileanyway.com/wedded-stress-even-traditional-tales-can-have-an-alternative-ending/

And thank you for reading!

About me

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, http://www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded second place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in 2016. Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the furbaby Sonu Singh. She has published a volume of poetry, Poetic RITUals, and is currently working on some short stories, and a novel, to be published in the near future.

She can be found on her blog or on Twitter at @PhantomGiggler


Thank you Ritu, you have done me proud. Love the story of your teenage WIP. Let us know when it becomes an adult 🙂

If you haven’t cast your vote in this year’s Annual Bloggers Bash Awards there is still time. Click here and I will transport you to the voting page. 

Have a wonderful day folks!

photo credit: Adobe.

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I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

73 thoughts on “My Teenage WIP – The Ups & Downs Of Trying To Write My First Draft #SundayBlogShare

  1. Good post, both! I hadn’t been on your blog for a while, Ritu, so, this being Sunday morning, it gave me a chance to catch up. Having a 10 year old grandson myself, I love Lil Man’s logic and comments! 🌺🌺🌺🌺

  2. What a tale, I think it deserves to be finished now, you know! I had to find just one hour every day that was for writing alone, and you will be surprised by how much you can get done!

    1. Thanks Jenanita!
      I really need to do it! I’m sure the times I managed to give my WIP the attention it deserved I was able to write up to 1000 in that hour, so I know it can be done! Hopefully soon!!!!!

  3. OMG I love it! #RiNoWriMo is a genius idea. Happy to crack the whip and help out if you need a boost so feel free to shout for help. Carving time out of life to write can be a tough job but once you commit to it then the miracles begin. Good luck Ritu xxx

  4. Go you gurlllll. Now that’s added a glow to Sunday. Having read an extract a while back I’m ticking the ‘get the hell on with it’ box. You’ve a lovely base to work from. On tip. Don’t worry what you’ve written or if you have a plot hole or just changed a charcarters name sex or age. Just keep going. You can revise the nonsense later. Think Lots wife. Do not look back….

    1. Thank you, His Geoffleship!
      I feel a bit fired up to do this now!
      So, just got to get my 40 reports written, then I can start plotting (in a good way of course!) and hope that August will give me the boost I need to finish this poor Teen WIP of mine!!!!!

  5. Ah, Ritu, I recognise so much of myself in this! I hope – nay, in fact I am convinced – that this time you will see it through! Wishing you the very, very best.

  6. Sis, I loved your Wedding adventure story and it will be great once it makes a complete book. But yes, it needs time and that time is best being in one piece for being part of the story and not needing to get into it over and over again. That actually takes much more time… That’s the curse of setting priorities!

  7. Ritu, I’m also struggling with finishing my WIP!! I’ve given myself a goal of having it on great shape by the end of July!! We can be cheerleaders for each other!

  8. Some novels just take a long time to get written, especially with everything else that’s going on. Increasingly, I think that writing is a very selfish activity, because no one can do it with you and you can only do it by cutting yourself off from what’s going on around you. Just keep going. It sounds like you’ve got it in hand.

      1. Ah, but it’s had the time. Just because you haven’t been writing it down, doesn’t mean that you haven’t been writing it. There’s a bit in the ‘Singing Detective’ where someone makes a comment to the Michael Gambon character, to the effect that he’s just lying in a hospital bed, unable to do anything. Michael Gambon replies that he’s writing.

      2. It;s writing itself in my head…. whether it translates to paper… (or screen!) that will be the fun part!!!!

      3. Paper. Always pen and paper for a first draft. Apparently it does something to the creative part of your brain which using a keyboard doesn’t.

  9. What fun to read about your writing journey! No doubt your characters are better off because you’ve taken the time to actually live your life. Looking forward to watching the journey continue to unfold! Thanks to you both for the post!

  10. Great post! So your kids are about the same age as my kids, I figured out. Mine are 12 and 8, sounds like yours is 11 and 9? Sorry, not the point of this post. I just always find myself doing the math first and finding that connection. Anyway, I’ll have to check out your WIP. I have 2 I’ve punched out on the computer but I don’t know where to go to reach the most audience. 2 years ago I was promised help from someone and unfortunately that took a back seat to his projects. I’ve decided I’ve got to get them out there but I have no idea where to go.

  11. Hi Lucy,
    I am a huge fan of Ritu’s. She has been supportive of my blog for a very long time now. I appreciated the chance to learn more about her. Pinning!
    Janice

  12. I went through some of this process and, as you know, took a month’s break from blogging. And, by blogging break, I meant no publishing, reading or commenting on any blog posts so I could get on with getting my book ready for publication. Of course, I told all my readers I was taking a break, and you know what? They were all still there when I got back. 😀

    If I hadn’t taken that break away from blogging then Glimpses would never have been published. I can highly recommend taking a blogging break. Other bloggers have told me it’s the best thing they did after reading my ‘thank you and goodbye for now’ post. I’ve even had a few ‘thank you’ emails from some of them.
    Good luck with finishing that book, Ritu.

    1. Thank you, Hugh!
      I really hope I can accomplish something this summer, I feel that even if I give 2 hours a day to it, I will get the lion’s share done!!!!!
      Can I step away from the blog??? That remains to be seen… I think you know me already… I tend to balance an awful lot of stuff at the same time! But I shall have to try!!!!!

      1. If you can do it without the blogging break, then go for it, Ritu. I thought I could do it, but I was so addicted to my blog that I failed miserably. Then somebody told me to take a proper blogging break and the rest, as they say, is history.

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