Today I am waiting nervously, excitedly, for my first working meeting with an editor. Only three hours away. Krista comes well recommended by people who have taken the time to write to tell me how much she helped them. Step one has been for her to read the first 50 pages of my novel. I’ve given her the sixth draft. I got to here with only one brief input from someone else a couple of months ago.
Now my eighty-seven-thousand-word baby is out there, in the purview of an expert at finding jewels in the dross; of wrangling a readable whole from my first attempt at fiction in any form. Actually, I’m not nervous; I’m exhilarated. This is exactly where I want to be; on the writer’s journey. I’ve always known I wouldn’t get it done on my own. I’m eager to get professional advice on how to polish what I’ve got so far; and as I’m sure will be necessary, to re-write, re-organise, make additions, and delete bits.
The objective here is not to get a pat on the back. It is to make my book the best book it can be. And for that to be a work that I know is well-written, well structured and compelling to at least some readers. If that means several more months work, I’m up for it. The great beauty of not having to work to live the good life is that I have all the time I need.
I’ve done enough in the last two years to know I have so much joy to come from the writing ahead. Being completely absorbed in an activity, whether it be chairing a meeting, selling an idea, arts and crafts, sport; whatever you find rewarding; those are the times when life is full. Learning new skills, gaining new knowledge, using the skills you have to the maximum, and above all, basking in the sense of achievement as you lift your game.
Like everyone else, I often go on about living every day as if it was the last and so on. Like everyone else I don’t. But these days, when I write, I know I haven’t wasted a second; I haven’t missed a thing that matters; there’s nowhere else I’d prefer to be.
So, on with this writing life. The writers’ groups, the courses and the retreats, the research, the structuring of plot that challenges my big-picture abilities, the flashes of insight about where my fictional character is likely to go next, the worrying at a sentence or paragraph until it is as concise and pleasurable to read as I can make it. I love it all.