Thursday, September 01, 2011

HIGH AND LOW

I've had some lows in my writing life this year. In February I had to abandon a half-written novel. Hopefully I'll pick it up again but it seemed dead at the time. Then I had an event at the local library where no one turned up who I didn't already know. These are the things that can happen to a writer. (This writer, at least.)

But you also get highs - I got to jet over to New York for BEA. I got to say I'm finally a full-time writer (although that's not necessarily a good thing, me being laid off from my day job). And yesterday I had the biggest high of all - finishing an MS.

I wrote "The End" a few weeks ago, but the cigar I had then didn't taste right, knowing as I did how many problems were still lurking in that MS, crying to be fixed. So I've spent the interim tackling them, and now the bug list is down to zero. I have run the spell check (never a small task with my books) and the MS is printed out, ready for one last pass of pencil editing which I have never found to be that onerous.

Out of all the milestones in all the cycles a writer goes through, I think this is my favourite. For months you walk around, weighed down by something and not even realising it. It is the problems, the battle that is always going on somewhere in your head. And that battle is won.

I took the dogs out for a walk and looked at the sun setting behind the Malvern Hills and felt like I had snorted cocaine (I hadn't, I promise). I could look at trees and birds and even dustbins and see the beauty in them. But it will be short-lived, won't it, that dustbin moment? Already I have something else planned, a great idea for a book just waiting to be put into words. Or maybe I could re-animate one of those dead MSs. And the moment you type that first sentence, the problems begin all over...

Until I get the dustbin moment again.

8 comments:

Helen Smith said...

Congratulations, Charlie. The highs sound as though they compensate for the lows. I hope you get a chance to return to the abandoned manuscript in some form or another.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Congrats. Looking forward to it.

Charlie Williams said...

Cheers both!

Ray Banks said...

Sorry to hear about the lay-off, Chuckie. Have had some time as a "full-time author" myself, and it's not much fun. But can't wait to clap eyes on the new stuff. ONE DEAD HEN is brilliant so far.

Karin said...

Sounds like things are looking up. Why would you have to abandon a manuscript? You're the boss!

Rex Kusler said...

Funny how those layoffs work. I'm hoping for one and can't get it no matter how hard I try (my HR file must be pretty thick). Maybe that abandoned manuscript will get some new light if you switch to a different brand of booze temporarily. That works for me. Also shooting craps with my left hand instead of my right seemed to unclog part of my brain (shook something loose). But most of the time before I start another project I'm convinced I can never do it again. Good luck, Charlie. Keep plugging.

Charlie Williams said...

Hey Ray, gotta say I enjoy the full time thing. Who knows how long it will last.

Karin, not my choice. I just wrote hte MS into a corner. I can sit around for weeks and try to find an answer or I can get on with something else. Maybe I'll have the answer when I look again.

Rex, in a way it was good to get laid off. Better than getting fired anyway. Maybe I will switch to a different booze. I reckon you're on to something there.

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