I’ve got an idea for a book

Don’t you just ‘love’ it when you tell someone you’ve written a book and they respond with, ‘Yeah? I’ve got an idea for a book’ or ‘Yeah? I hope to write a book one day’.

Do you? Well, go for it. Write your little heart out.

Of course, I’m being flippant. I get the Jimmy Brits when people assume that writing a book is easy as 1-2-3. Like they can pull one out of their bottoms without it hurting.

Believe you me, once they learn that you’ve written a book, they will, in most instances, share their own writing aspirations or those of a friend/relative.

I’ll give you a recent example of a conversation with a friend who asked how my book was coming along. After I answered, she said, ‘My daughter is going to take six months off work to write a book.’

‘Great. Good on her,’ I said.

What I didn’t say was this: Maybe it will take six months. There are those rare authors who can knock out a quality read in less than that. But it’s more likely to take 12 months-plus to type ‘THE END’.

But it’s not really the end.

A first draft is, in many ways, the fun before the hard work starts.

The rewrites are the thing. The editing process can take longer than the writing of the book. I say ‘rewrites’ because it’s unusual for there to only be one edit.

A few years ago, a successful crime fiction writer spoke at a writing workshop I attended. She admitted to having completed more than half a dozen edits before her book was ready for publication. It took five years to get it right. And that was with the help of an agent, editors and sympathetic publisher.

Maybe everyone does have a book in them. Personally, ideas buzz around inside my head like a hive of busy bees.

But so what. These are bees that haven’t yet got down to the labour intensive work of making honey.

The idea is to sit, write, complete. Then add to that ‘repeat’. However many times it takes.

Good luck to everyone who has an idea. And here’s to those who follow through.

Three books in the drawer

And maybe even more.

I am embarrassed to admit I have at least three books in the drawer – metaphorically speaking, that is.

At over 100,000 words, my most recent novel was my most ambitious.

I finished writing it at the end of 2015.

It had been a huge feat for me to craft a story that wasn’t solely focused on the relationship between the hero and heroine. After years of mucking about, I had finally tippy-toed away from the romance genre into ‘popular women’s fiction with romantic elements’.

On completion of a first draft, I followed the recommendations of many successful authors – I put my novel “in the drawer” so I could return to it in a couple of months with a fresh perspective.

And there it stayed for a couple of months… and another couple of months, etc.

Gah!

When I dragged myself to the computer to edit it, my mojo had dwindled to a flickering candle with only a couple of hours burning time left.

As I traipsed through it, helped by some useful input from a writer friend, my attitude to my book changed.

  • I didn’t like my heroine anymore where once I loved her
  • I decided the story was flim flam, a crock, dog’s breakfast, all over the shop, total rubbish
  • I resented the input from my friend who had suggested I make big changes to whole chapters towards the end of the story. You’ve got to be kidding?

All in all, I suffered an attack of ennui and self-loathing whenever I went into edit mode (this wasn’t helped by my lack of organisational skills – yes, I am using Scrivener but I can even mess that up).

I also became caught up in the drudgery (ya gotta earn a living) and occasional dramas and tragedy that punctuated my other life in the real world in 2016 and 2017.

My very first grown up/big girl novel was put on the backburner.

As we all know it is now 2018. You might think I’m daft (and you wouldn’t be the first) but I rather like the sound of “2018”. Call me superstitious but I have always loved the number 8, even before I knew about the Chinese fixation with its simple infinity flow.

*And so dear reader (that’s you Lisa C), this year I resolve to get the bloody thing out there. Like, published. Like…

*Disclaimer: this is my first real blog on my big/grown up girl website so I am over-excited and keen to get cracking. So bear with me if book stays in drawer for another couple of months… etc.

Gouge my eyes out with pointy winged pencils!