… That is a very good question. For some time now I’ve been thinking about a novel. I planned it last summer but it has actually been rattling around my brain for a few years. I started to write it in August last year but came to a standstill around November. It was the 10000 word mark. I was actually really proud of the fact that I’d got so far but after a conversation with a published writer friend I realised that this is usually the point where most wannabe novelists give up.
Yep. That was me! I wasn’t very well at the end of last year and similarly have been quite ill recently. But if I’m honest I’ve been hiding behind some of these life events. I keep thinking I will write it. Tomorrow. Next week. At half term. In the holidays. Procrastination has clouded my little writing road!
It’s not even that I haven’t been writing. I’ve blogged, I’ve written short stories, I’ve even scribbled down ideas for the novel but actually sitting down and writing it. It just hasn’t happened.
When I recently fell sick with the dreaded pneumonia, lots of my friends and family who, bless them believe in my probably deluded notion that I might one day be a novelist, muted I should turn a positive into a negative. Get writing that book! But I just felt too sick and even when I started to feel more human again, I wrote another bloody short story and entered a couple of competitions as if that would satisfy the inner gnawing I feel when I don’t write.
This week I took the bull by the horns. I am starting to go slowly insane in my recovery – not yet well enough to work but kind of losing the will to live with the lack of daily social interaction I usually enjoy. So I took myself down to my favourite coffee shop, whipped out my notebook and thought let’s plan this thing.
I started by reading what I had scribbled down over the last 10 months. And that’s when I realised what a fool I have been – there lay an immaculate plan. Chapter by chapter. I spent 30 minutes adding a few extra bits and bingo, I was done. Why on earth haven’t I got this thing locked down yet? Surely I should be sipping champagne at a book launch by now? What have I been waiting for?
I think sometimes it boils down to courage. It’s being brave enough to take rejection. To accept that even though you’ve poured your heart and soul into your writing, your novel is a story separate from you.
Rejection in any line of work is never personal. I’ve interviewed lots of people for jobs in my department but you can’t recruit everybody. They have to fit with you, your team and the current need. I guess it’s the same with books. An agent needs to see your potential and a publisher needs to believe your work will sell. I’ve read loads of brilliant books in my time that I couldn’t put down. Equally there are a large number I’ve started that have left me cold. In book clubs around the country there are people sipping wine as we speak and arguing about the pros and cons of their chosen read (as well as the referendum – I’m so IN by the way).
So in the spirit of being brave I WILL now begin writing my novel again. You read it here first folks. I have set myself a schedule and have everything set to go.
What has this got to do with cancer and caring and coping I hear you say? Read my novel and find out… you won’t be disappointed.
I’ll shut up now and get writing this week’s 2000 word contribution.
‘The force is strong with this one.’