And I’m off!
Contract signed, I waited for the agreed hour of reveal: last Saturday morning – The official news that I was officially an author was about to be OFFICIAL!
Granted, I still did all the things I would normally do over the weekend, but my normality was lifted to new heights by the accompanying soundtrack of pings from my mobile, and the resulting fixed grin. It was happening. It was really, really happening.
Again and again, I cast my mind back to that day by the River Ness when I met the Cranachan Crew and clinked glasses. Some of that soaring sensation returned – people I had never heard of before congratulated me on Twitter, my blog recorded its highest number of hits EVER, and on Monday, a colleague at school (who rarely speaks) commented: ‘you’re all over the internet’ which made me laugh.
Four days later, I have finally knuckled down to the task of sorting out this manuscript. Or trying to.
Every publisher requires changes, of course – I was ready for that.
What I wasn’t ready for was the sudden onslaught of self-doubt. You serious, Barbara? You expect people to want to read this? You should really check all your dates and sources again! It probably doesn’t even make sense. That’s the fourth time you’ve used the word ‘whirled’ – call yourself a writer? And so on and so forth.
I did what I always do in these circumstances: pack up and head for my local café which tends to be fairly quiet first thing in the morning. I spread myself out all along one end of the communal table and, aided by a large latte, ploughed my way through suggested re-writes, clarifications, replacements, queries and re-formats.
A couple of days later, and by now I can’t see the wood for the trees anymore – so this morning I dragged my updated version onto a pen-drive and took a wander into town to print it all off. Later I will sit down by the window, hot-water bottle clutched tight, and begin the ritual of reading the whole thing out aloud to myself – again.
I’m reminded of something author Teri Terry said at an event I attended. ‘You really have to love your book. You’re going to write it and edit it before sending it away. It comes back for structural edits and copy-edits and line-by-line edits and you are going to re-read it endlessly. Then when it finally gets published, you will spend months and months reading it aloud and talking about it, over and over again. I’m telling you – you’d better love it!’
The good news is, flaws and all, I do.
Look out for further instalments of The Ride – the publication journey as it happens.