Well, 2017 has flown and we’re well into 2018. Unbelievable. Time is flying by faster than a day of procrastination when I should be writing this blog.
But it has not all been in vain. This time last year, I had just set up this website and was the owner of one unfinished novel. So, for posterity, here’s my writing journey so far.
2017 was taken up with writing, parenting, a little bit of working and then more writing, writing, writing. To me, and everyone around me, it soon became apparent that this writing lark was becoming a bit of an obsession. Hubby and daughter would audibly groan when I appeared (or disappeared) with the laptop but I continued undeterred. J.K. Rowling is quoted as saying that housework just didn’t happen while she was busy writing Harry Potter and I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, I feel her pain. I’m not saying we lived in squalor – my desire for a basic level of cleanliness wouldn’t allow for that – but house chores of any kind were always at the bottom of my list of priorities. I’ll admit, there were many mornings that we went on a find-the-clean-underwear-hunt, praying for (and finding) that elusive pair – stuffed at the back of the airing cupboard or in the laundry pile or the dryer; crumpled, maybe a little bit uncomfortable, but clean.
My laptop went everywhere with me, even interrupted a family holiday, and kept me up during the early hours, but I had come so far, I just wanted something complete to show for it. So once I was happy with it, off it went to agents. I felt good, mainly for the sense of achievement rather than the feeling that my work would be snapped up by the first agent I wrote to. And sure enough, rejections came in thick and fast (one within 24 hours) but the rejections were not entirely soul-crushing – ‘…nice story, much to admire…’ then always the dreaded ‘…but’.
What to do next? Well, needing a little unbiased opinion, I found myself some critique partners via Twitter and we shared our work. I also found a fantastic beta reader who agreed to read my book. Twitter has the most fantastic writing community, a really positive part of social media, and I am very glad to be part of it. Re-writes followed feedback and the tail end of the year saw me head down, heavily editing my novel and with all of Christmas to organise. We were back to barely enough clean pants. Again.
But the end of the year also brought loss with it too, my father sadly passing away after a long battle with cancer. There’s no need to go into detail over such a personal issue here, but it obviously figures heavily in my writing journey, and how it halted it for a while, so that’s why I share. But, taking a deep breath and not wishing to appear obtuse, life goes on and so must I.
So, where am I now? Well, I’ve finished my book. Yes, actually finished it. No more tinkering, amending, deleting. It’s done. Finished. Step away from the laptop, sweetheart; you’re done. It’s now a shiny, polished gem, thanks to the professional editing services of Richard Bradburn, Managing Editor at Editorial.ie. He came into my world via a recommendation and I’m glad he did. He’s constructive, helpful and (sometimes eye-wateringly) honest, all bundled together with a great sense of humour. His comments and support have enabled me to pull this story together into something I am very proud of. Thank you, Richard.
My novel has morphed from a beast of over 111,000 words to just shy of 84,000 with no loss to the story and I’m happy with that. What an accomplishment; that’s what everyone tells me and yes, I’m very pleased. But what to do next? Do I self-publish or do I query agents? My gut tells me to query agents, even though I have no issue with self-publishing, but if I was prepared to do a round with the original beast, I’d be mad not to send my new, improved version too. Right? Right indeed. I’ve experienced the dreaded rejection and I’m still standing, so what’s to lose. Whether traditionally or self-published, I have 84,000 words of my imagination on a page that I’ll get out there somehow. So let’s see what comes next. It’s in the hands of the gods, I guess. But with a little sprinkling of luck, who knows?
More writing? Definitely. I have at least one more novel in me, hopefully more. I’m also a Mills & Boon Insider, reviewing books via Net Galley. I guess I should take this opportunity to thank my family for their patience. Oh, and purchase more underwear. I should definitely do that. And maybe hire a cleaner.