I have been writing for a very long time now – about fourteen or fifteen years, I think, and in all that time I have been on something of an apprenticeship. I dread to think how many words I’ve actually written in that time, but most of them are hidden between the pages of the notebooks which take up an entire bookshelf in my study, fill an old fashioned leather suitcase with no handle which is tucked beneath my desk, and yet more that are posted about the house. There is not much in the way of literary merit in those books. Rather they are filled with my musings on everything under the sun and more often than not they contain my own fears and worries about the writing process itself. In all the years I’ve been keeping these notebooks I have often fretted on the page about finishing projects. It is something I have found difficult to do, but now I am delighted to say that I have actually finished Jude!
I have pushed for the last year to complete a first draft and that draft has been through two or three revisions and I am now in a place where I can say I’m happy with what I’ve written. It is not the novel I first thought I’d write when it came to me on a sunny day out to a local town, but it’s surprisingly not far off. What came to me in a beautiful burst of inspiration and seemed so very clear, took many years of crafting to rediscover.
I am now in a position where I have a manuscript that I can approach the gatekeepers of publication with. To many it might seem a very daunting process, but actually it feels a very natural one to me now, and I am allowing it to unfold at a gentle pace. After the many years of learning to write, of crafting Jude (the title of which will undoubtedly change at some point), there is no hurry. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a delightful sense of anticipation and of course the natural fear that everyone will hate my work, but I am happy enough to let it take its natural course. What I am finding more difficult now is knowing what direction to take next. I do have at least one other very challenging project I want to get my teeth into, but I’m not sure if that’s the right thing for now. We shall have to see!
As it is, I’ve got lots of other things to get on with and perhaps now this blog might get a look in too! Watch this space for the news that I’ve got an agent!!