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My Writing Journey – 72 Hours To Novella

April 13th, 2018

I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. As a child, in the pre-Harry Potter days, I read adult books with lots of pages like Jeffrey Archer and Maeve Binchy, and longed to write like them. Unfortunately, life got in the way and for one reason or other my ambitions were shelved.  However, I never forgot my dream, but just earning a living and paying the bills meant there was never enough time for writing.  Years later, I enrolled on the Writer’s Bureau course in 2016 after I saw an advertisement that piqued my interest, and I found the course materials and the tutor to be second to none. I had a period of illness, which led to a long period of absence from work, and I found the coursework therapeutic. I thought to myself, maybe this is my time to follow my dream.

Six months after I started the course, I heard about a writing competition that takes place on the American holiday, Labour Day weekend every year, which involves writing a complete novel in just three days. I didn’t have much time to prepare but I was determined to enter. My husband was out of the house that weekend on a short break so it was a perfect opportunity.

The result of my work over 72 hours that Labour Day weekend, was the novella “Second Chances,” later renamed “The Wedding”,  which in the end didn’t win the competition, but which I liked well enough to edit and revise later and think about publishing myself. In fact it sat on my hard drive for nearly a year, before I dared think about what to do next with it. At sixteen thousand words, it was short, but I had read a lot about self-publishing on social media, and I was determined not to let that stop me.

My Amazon account is well-used and dates back ten years, so I am something of an expert in buying books online and other random but hard to find items on the website. It was a natural fit to publish there.  I decided to use a pseudonym, Chris Ambrose, and published it on Kindle and in paperback in August of 2017.

I looked online for a designer who could help me with the cover and formatting for the paperback and eBook style acceptable to Amazon, and I was lucky enough to find one who did a good job very reasonably priced. The instructions on the website are easy to follow once you have the correctly formatted file, and within minutes I was a published author.

I might never be rich from writing, but at least I have found something that puts a little extra cash in my pocket, and I hope to continue doing more of it. I am soon to get my Certificate of Competence from the Writer’s Bureau for successfully making my course fees back from writing income. And I am continuing to enter competitions and write, just for the sheer fun of it.


Claire Keogh is a native of Ireland, and lives in Dublin with her husband, Barry. She has recently retired from employment and is passionate about writing and reading both fiction and non-fiction. She also enjoys theatre and movies. Her book “The Wedding”, published under the pseudonym Chris Ambrose is available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon at this link.

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