Do you remember that book I was writing? It feels rather as though I’ve been writing it forever, although in fact it’s been only a few months. I’m not sure how long I spent messing around with the first three chapters, but once I had a deadline – an agent who wanted to read the full manuscript – I suddenly found the discipline I’d needed from the start.
I’ve written sixty thousand words since the start of August, in amongst the full time job, the children, the chickens and the blogging. Whether they’re good words or not remains to be seen, but never the less they’re written. For the last two weeks I’ve been halted at the final hurdle – the last chapter invisible even to my own imagination. I had to let myself step away from the laptop for a while and wait for the ending to appear.
On Monday I took a day off work and retreated to my favourite writing cafe with one sole aim; to finish the book. I ordered tea and I wrote. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I ordered still more tea, and still I wrote. And then suddenly that was it – I’d written the very last word of the very last chapter. I’d reached the end. I looked up at the group of old ladies with their tea cakes, at the funny man who sits on his own and laughs at everyone’s conversations, and I grinned inanely at anyone who caught my eye.
A book – I’ve written a whole book.
On strict instructions from my friend and mentor, author Joanna Cotterill, I have put the manuscript to one side for a while before starting revisions, just to allow my mind to whirl back from the ending. A copy has gone to the wonderful Tasha Goddard for editing, and when it returns, and the work is done, I will take a deep breath and a leap of faith, and send it back to the agent.
I may have reached the end of the book, but I’m hoping this is really just the beginning.