Those of you who take a peek a my ramblings on Facebook or twitter will probably be aware that in January I was lucky enough to get a place on the New Writers’ Scheme run by the Romantic Novelists’ Association. For the uninitiated the RNA is the industry organisation and the new writers’ scheme offers 250 people the chance to submit a full manuscript for critique. The report gives advice and pointers to help your work be the very best it can be, and hopefully start you on your path to publication.
In the middle of January therefore I sent my baby off and then I waited though the next few weeks which passed with agonising slowness until I had almost chewed my knuckles down to the bone. Then, just over two weeks ago on the 27th March, my report came back.
I’m thrilled to say that my report was very encouraging. Phrases like ‘an accomplished piece of work for a novice writer’ and ‘whilst there is always room for improvement but in this case there is very little that needs to be done’ are a soothing balm to the ears of an trembling rookie, full of doubt and nervous anticipation for any kind of validation of talent. To receive it therefore was a huge boost. Of course there are things to improve and tweak and reconsider, but actually what is fundamentally important to me is that underneath all of it was a hanging sign which read ‘Yes we think you can write a good book’ and that is worth its weight in gold.
Then of course it struck me, like so much in a writers' life, that what you think is the end, is actually just the beginning ….
You get your first draft completed which can take months, you give an almighty whoop, heave a huge sign of relief, open something celebratory, mooch about for a couple of days and then all of a sudden you realise actually its not the end its just the beginning ….. because now you have to edit it, revise it, proof read it, edit it agin, revise it some more and probably rewrite half of it, oh and then proofread it some more. You have polished it until it shines, you give an almighly whoop, heave a huge sigh of relief, open something celebratory, mooch about for a couple of days and then all of a sudden you realise actually its not the end its just the beginning …. Because now you have to start submitting it, and of course get the next book going so you …. Get the picture?
So this is where I am now. What I had waited for for so many weeks and which felt like an end really isn’t at all, its very much the beginning, of another huge mountain to climb. Daunting perhaps, but look at it this way;
Look familiar? Its certainly the journey ive been on with its peaks and troughs, but look again, remind you of something?
….. and like Ellie says of Will in letting in Light, 'its in his blood now this thing that he does, its hardwired to his heart.' Yep, that’s me alright.
Excuse me while I just go off to get changed into my climbing gear.