Daily Archives: December 6, 2012

Preparing for the Final Draft

It’s only now I’ve written it that I realise how over-dramatic the title of this post sounds – like I’m going to be shipped off-planet to help save humankind from alien warlords who love nothing more than smearing human entrails all over their breakfast, or whatever. The ‘draft’ I’m talking about is a bit less exciting than that, of course. The WiP sits, in its folder, on my kitchen table, resplendent in its livery of red pen corrections, waiting for me to finish it – and tomorrow, it will finally be time for me to begin that process.

I’m almost grateful that Christmas is nearly upon us, and that our house needed the cleaning of its life before the festivities kick off, because it’s given me something to do for the last few days as the WiP settled. I can really see the wisdom showed by my writerly idol, Alan Garner, who worked for years as a manual labourer between books because he wanted to do something of value, using physical (as opposed to mental) energy, allowing him to think about his books at the back of his mind. It seemed to work, as he’s written some of the most fabulous books in the English language! My WiP isn’t fit to tie the sandals of even the least of his books, of course, but I’ve also enjoyed the time away from the words. It’s good to sit down at the end of the day and feel pleasantly weary, muscles aching from being used, and your brain at peace. I worked for years in jobs which would leave me completely worn out at the end of the day, my brain screaming for rest – that sort of feeling is a creativity killer. But the sort of work I did yesterday is valuable, I think. A rest from your writing, once in a while, is important.

I won't be doing it in bare feet, though. Crazy stuff.

Who washes a floor in bare feet? Not me, in Ireland, in December, that’s for sure!

Today, I’m planning to wash the kitchen floor, which is one of those jobs I like – you get instant positive feedback, i.e. the floor looks shiny immediately, which pleases my inner magpie. But the best part of this job is, of course, the fact that the floor has to dry for several hours afterwards, meaning I have no choice but to take to a quiet corner somewhere and read. I really do love it when life gives you no option but to read! I’m currently devouring another Celine Kiernan book, ‘The Rebel Prince’, which is the last instalment in her Moorehawke Trilogy. I have a feeling I’ll be blogging a review of these books in the coming days.

It’s weird to think that other people may, one day, read my words, and hopefully they’ll like them. Maybe eventually some of these may be ‘paying customers’, but I know my family and friends will probably be my first readers. The other day, while having tea with a friend, I had an epiphany – it struck me that other people don’t have a clue what my book is about. I know that this seems obvious, but for whatever reason – probably because my brain has been steeped in this story for so, so long – it only really hit me at that point that nobody else in the world knows this whole story. It felt strange, exciting, almost exhilarating, and it makes me a little bit scared at the thought of sharing the story with other people. I never really appreciated before how difficult it is to have an inner life which seems as real, to you, as your outer life. Sharing a book you’ve worked on and loved for weeks and months and years is, actually, as intense an experience as introducing a partner to your parents for the first time, or trying to integrate two groups of friends. You desperately hope everyone likes each other, and that they’ll all get on. It’s easy to use this as an excuse to never share your fictive world with anyone else, but I’m not falling into that trap this time.

This final draft will be completed soon. I will have it prepared before Christmas. *Deep breaths* And then I will allow other people to read it, if they wish – starting with my darling husband, who has been bugging me to let him read it for weeks now.

Happy Thursday, wherever you are! Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s more interesting than washing a floor…