This time last week I was giving myself a serious talking to. The end of the second draft was tantalisingly close, but I just couldn’t see how I was going to get it done.
There’s something funny that happens when I’m close to finishing something big. I find it hard to get a handle on exactly what I’ve done and what needs doing, and in this shimmering, shifting version of reality I oscillate wildly between feeling like I have in my hands a work of genius and being sure that I’ve actually just spent the last year of my life working on a pile of absolute tosh.
Actually this week I’ve realised that just means I’m approaching the point when I need to hand it over to someone else. There’s only so long you can spend moving words around in a four hundred page document before you start to doubt your judgement, and begin to be in danger of causing more harm than good.
So yesterday afternoon, having sat on my finished manuscript for the weekend and then made a final sweep through to tweak things that may or may not have needed tweaking, I finally sent it out into the world.
Well, when I say into the world, I mean to my agent. And when I say finished, I mean finished for now. I’m under no illusion that there will be more redrafting to come, but I’m pretty pleased with the shape of things at the moment.
I hope the changes I’ve made are an improvement. But even if things end up reverting to the way they were or changing again in a different direction the whole process has been extremely valuable.
And for now I need to not think too much about it. That feels weird, in a way, having made the novel my priority for the past two months. There are of course plenty of other projects waiting in the wings, so whilst on one level I can breathe a sigh of relief relaxing is not really an option.
I have a million blog posts in my head, and I need to work out what to do with those. We’re also entering the preparing-for-Christmas-and-Arthur’s-birthday phase, which last year completely took over for a few weeks at least. Then there are all the books I want to read. And of course there’s the next novel, the seeds of which are desperate for a little nourishment. I’m super keen to start formulating the ideas for that too – I’ll be leaving a bit of my brain free for further revisions as and when I get my next wave of feedback, but the rest of it needs to be kept busy lest the doubt sets in.
So not really too much relaxing, but a job done – and done well, I think. We shall see.