The loneliness of the long distance writer…

Posted: November 14, 2013 in Regarding writing
Tags: ,

I’ve been feeling a little down this week, and whilst I initially put it down to the cold dark nights drawing in I think there is another reason. You see I finished the first draft of novel #4 last Friday. I know, you’d think this would be a time for celebration, but oddly as I typed that last full stop horns didn’t blare, fireworks didn’t go off, and beautiful women in scanty costumes didn’t bring me a nice cold beer…

In fact I didn’t even have a beer in the fridge.

Finishing a book is a curious business. Whilst there is a case for using the example of a marathon as an allegory for writing a novel (both are a test of endurance, and for most people just finishing the darn thing is a huge achievement) there are differences.

There are no cheering crowds waiting for you when you cross the finishing line of a book, and no one rushes over to wrap a tinfoil blanket around your shoulders (although to be honest if they had that would have been quite scary.)

No, when you finish a book…well not much has actually changed, and yet everything has changed.

There’s the realisation that you’ve finished the story you’ve been working on for (insert number here) months, and you do wonder what they hell you’re going to do with your time now?

Of course what you’re going to do is go back and proofread/edit the whole darn thing, and try and get it in a fit state to start sending off to publishers and agents. And this raises another aspect. When you finish that first draft it becomes a lot more real. It’s no longer a bit of a fun you spend half an hour on a night, now it’s a complete entity, not quite the finished article of course, it needs polishing, it needs pruning, but you’re that much closer to the point of sending it off to people, and of having people (probably) reject it, unless you’re very, very lucky, very, very good, or both!

Having someone reject a short story you spent a few hours writing is one thing, having someone reject the novel you’ve spent over a year on is something else entirely. But you have to go through it, if only because you’ve poured all that time and effort in.

It’s a lonely life being a writer, and you can see why so many experience emotional problems, or have substance abuse issues, but perhaps the loneliest moment for a writer is that moment when the work is done, because there is that yawning gulf of “What now?”

Luckily it doesn’t last, and now I’m trying to juggle working on my second draft, with preparatory work for novel #5. And it’s nice to read through your story again, nice to go back and spend time with your characters when they were young and innocent, you know, before you put them through the wringer…

Hopefully Novel #4 will soon be in a fit state to start sending out, and then I can start the next marathon!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.