EDITED OUT: Time to Call it a Day

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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.



5 thoughts on “EDITED OUT: Time to Call it a Day”

  1. WooHoo, Tessa! Congrats, and yes I do know what it’s like to work on a novel for several years. I’m always amazed when I read threads on FB or Twitter where writers talk about trying to get out 4 novels a year!!! I’ve perused some of these. My advice: Take the years to get it right. Time well spent.

    1. I know what you mean. Stephen King reckons he gets the bare bones of his story down in 3 months and probably puts flesh on the bones in 12 months. But, hey, I’m not in his league. But next time, I will be a bit more organised. As I’m going to be building on one of my short stories, so I already know my characters and where they are are going in advance. With my first stab at a novel, I just let rip and the characters developed as I went along. I wrote it all in flashback originally, then had to rewrite it in chronological order because I got in such a muddle! Anyway, thank you for your constant support, it is soooo much appreciated. 😊

  2. My dearest Tessa, I will tell you, I have just about finished re-re-re-re-re-editing my memoir and I expressed to my partner that I am finally ready, after 3 years of writing it, to publish it. Then he read first paragraph of first chapter and expressed “Hum, if you want a mediocre book, go ahead”. As they say truth hurts and his words stung me, but I am not giving up. I am going to finish my health books and begin on my second memoir after. I need a break. This road, like your has been a great learning curve and I realise I still have lots to learn. Good luck with your next project xx

    1. Della, thanks for taking the time to comment, it is so much appreciated. I sympathise. I’m edited out after one project and you seem to have so many projects on the go. It some ways having a few projects running simultaniously is a good thing, because you can take a break from one to work on something else then go back to it with fresh eyes. That said, writing them is the fun part, it is the editing that is SO draining. I wish you all the very best with all your projects and look forward to reading them in the future.

Thank you very much for visiting my niche-less blog! If you have time before you leave, would love you to tell us what you think. All the best, Tessa Barrie

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