I am tired, my eyes are sore and I have a fresh outbreak of floaters… vitreous detachment to any young striplings reading this. It’s an irritating combination and a knock-on effect from the final vigorous and all-consuming edit of my first born novel.
I first launched myself into ‘writing a book’ at the end of June 2015. An idea had been bubbling around in my brain for years and was catapulted to the forefront of my mind; a knee jerk reaction to after being made redundant. I decided to take three months off ‘to enjoy the summer and get my teeth into my book’ before looking for another job but, by the time 2015 played out, I had lost three of the people closest to me.
I carried on writing. So for those of you who are not convinced that writing is a therapeutic, as well as a healing process… think again. I had a lot to get off my chest. But, twelve months into the process, what had initially been an outpouring of emotion turned into something else as the storyteller I had kept trapped inside me for so long, took over.
I celebrated ‘the end’, after two years, then again after three years. What was I thinking? I had merely written the bare bones of the story. It took another two years to put flesh on its bones and it becomes an obsession. Writing through the day and night as 45,000 words become 70,000 and somehow during the course of one re-write, the word count became 95,000.
But how do you know, when it is time to stop editing and tweaking?
I think you instinctively know and I am at that point now. I’m ready to stop. After three title changes and burning the candle both ends, it’s time to move on. I will try to go down the traditional publishing route but if my attempts fail, I will join the ranks of my Indie author friends.
One thing is for sure, writing a novel has been a learning curve. When I read earlier drafts, they make me cringe and yet I had the brass neck at that early stage to let others read it.
I have new characters who have been sitting on the back burner for a while and it’s their voices I can hear now as their potential storylines that are weaving their way into my head.
I have no regrets, I have written and finished my first novel. It is not War and Peace, it was never written with the intention of it becoming a literary masterpiece. It’s about life, love and finding out who you are. It is a story that evolved over a four year period, but as I begin my next project I am starting with a clearer idea about where and what my characters are going to be doing with their lives.