01 December, 2016
Draft Two - Check!
It has been three years and three months since I started working on this novel. In the past, a couple of drafts might have taken me six to eight months to crank out. This time however, I was somewhat waylaid by having two children (17 months apart) and being a full-time mum. Having abandoned the first draft before having my eldest son, I started again when he was six months old, then started AGAIN four months later when I realised I was writing my way into a dead end. I just about managed to complete the first draft a week before my second son was born in August last year. After that it got busy!
I started writing this draft in May, hoping - but not really believing - I could do it in eight months before the end of 2016. Well, guess who's feeling smug now? I have finished one month early, despite a slow start and weeks when the ill/stroppy/not-at-all-sleepy boys took up most of my writing time.
I don't know if this is going to be a great - or even publishable - book. It's certainly not polished yet. I might have several more drafts to do before it's even anything close to a satisfying novel. But I'm proud of it. I spent the first six months after Boy2 was born, working on getting him to nap regularly. It meant I never got a break, but it DID mean that eventually I got to the stage where both boys napped at the same time. I was so tempted then to use those precious minutes of silence to relax or at least get a start on housework, but I made myself write. Every afternoon nap pllus two evenings a week I'd sit at my desk and put those words down.
There are tonnes of writers out there who give up an hour of sleep, or their office lunchtimes to write their books. I have a newfound respect for them! To write and write and write, regardless of whether I'd had only four hours sleep the previous night and how late I was going to have to stay up doing housework that night because of it, was tough. I had to learn to write in a way I wasn't used to - picking up Novel2 in an instant, and leaving it again mid-thought when one of the boys woke for the afternoon. And you know what? I enjoyed the challenge. I had a lot of fun writing this, I really did. I feel as my characters and I have come through a battle together!
So what now? I am currently reading Novel2 through and doing a very light edit - continuity stuff and double-checking facts mostly. I expect that to take only a week or two. Then I will send it to my most trusted readers for their verdict and then (gulp) to my agent to see what he thinks. There is of course always a chance that nobody will like it and my agent will think it's terrible. I'm not sure what I'll do then. But unless and until that happens I am going to wallow in the contentment of having completed another novel draft. It won't just be wallowing though. I'm going to write other stuff. Glorious, beautiful other stuff! I've missed writing short fiction so much over the last eight months and I can't wait to stretch my writing legs and give a new mini-project a go!