I don’t know about you, but sometimes I despair of my brain, absolutely despair. It is not to be trusted, and that is a problem, because mostly it’s in charge of the rest of me. This worries me, a lot.
Mostly, in recent days I have been giving myself shit about my writing.
So, regular readers will know that I wrote a book this year.
I am 43 years old. I have never written a book before, despite everyone who has ever known me nagging me about it on and off for years. I’ve never felt that I had anything to say.
I realise the irony of this, given that I am an incessant talker and fill my blog to the gunwhales on a daily basis. I guess what I mean is that I never had anything to say that I thought could be sustained for the duration of an entire novel.
Anyway, all that changed in August, when I had an idea and filled two notebooks with scribbles and got down to writing.
I sent the draft of the novel to an interested agent about ten days ago.
This is fairly huge.
Since then, rather than celebrating I have been giving myself absolute grief about it. My brain is not happy with me, not happy at all.
I rewrote the prologue and first two chapters in a hurry, against a deadline because there was a chance I would have to show it to someone who mattered. I didn’t have to in the end, but after that I had to rewrite the entire rest of the book and never got back round to looking at the early parts of the book again because by then I had another deadline and I needed to get it finished.
I re-read the early parts of the book last week. They’re not good enough. I could only know that in light of what I learned from writing the rest of the book, but I am still giving myself a really hard time about it.
I also know that even if the agent likes it, there will undoubtedly be a mass of things that need changing in the whole of the book, not just the first bit. It is overlong. It is repetitive. It is strange. It will need edits. Nobody expects you to send your first novel somewhere and have it be brilliant from the get go.
I am also totally capable of rewriting it. I see what I want/need to do and I can do it.
I tell myself this and my rational brain doesn’t agree. The rest of my brain thinks this is shit, and I should never have pressed send on the e-mail because it is just not good enough.
In writing the book, I found that it was way too long and I needed to do something about it, so I have actually decided that it will be a trilogy. I promised myself that as soon as the first book was finished and sent I would start the second book and really get cracking. I have 100,000 words of it in draft already, so you know, that’s good.
Except that I am finding it really difficult to maintain my previous nose to the grindstone writing, and after ten days I am still only half way through rewriting chapter one.
This feels like a huge failure on my part. I have been giving myself such gyp about it.
Even though it isn’t, and probably, when I am not dying of pain and dealing with Christmas, things will pick up and I will get on and bloody write it.
I really need to focus on the good things:
Since August I have written over 200,000 words.
I have written a book.
Actually I have written the first book twice, because I rewrote masses of it in the edit process.
I have sent a book to an agent who really wants to see it.
Even if the agent doesn’t want to publish it, there is a use for the book and nothing is wasted.
I have actually written a second book in draft, already.
I have already started rewriting my second book, even though it’s going slowly, it is going.
I have the material in my head for book three and another two books which will be part of the same series. I just haven’t had time to write it all down yet.
It is not even Christmas yet.
I have done all this in just shy of five months after 42 and a half years of doing sweet FA and my brain is telling me that I am a failure.
Sometimes I would really like to take a holiday from myself, you know?
Anyway. I thought if I wrote it all down here in black and white I would maybe see quite how ridiculously I am behaving and it would ensure a quick Bishop Brennan to my delusions.