The Secret Dreamworld of an Aspiring Author by Anna Bell - Writing vs The Real World
August for me has been one of those nightmare months. One where I actually had a proper writing deadline and it's like the universe has been conspiring against me to make it more challenging.
I’m on the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and I have to submit a manuscript by the end of August. I had one teeny tiny problem with - I was in danger of not making the deadline.
Initially, I wasn’t worried. At the beginning of the year I was coming to the end of a novel which meant I’d have eight months to finesse it. It was all going swimmingly until I decided to self publish the manuscript in question. Which meant I got to May and had no manuscript.
For those following my column, you’ll know that some very frantic novel writing took place. And after two weeks with little sleep, sore fingers and slumped shoulders, I produced the first draft of a book.
I then had to leave that book and re-edit ‘Universally Challenged’ (the one I was self publishing). That was due to be copy edited mid July. That would mean I would have six full weeks to edit the ‘ten day novel’. I like nothing more than a challenge.
I started out by reading the book. Would it make sense after I’d written it in such a tearing hurry? I downloaded it to my kindle and read it. I was so surprised that actually it read well. Ok, there were a lot of errors and really random words that were meant to say something completely different, but the narrative was there and the characters were well rounded.
I was feeling quite confident that I could get a pretty good draft together to send to the RNA. And then the real world put its size nines in the way. My husband got offered a job in Switzerland, and within a week I’d handed my notice into my job, put our house on the market and embarked on the mother of all clear outs. That was on top of house hunting on Switzerland’s answer to Rightmove and me discovering the first season of Mad Men...
In short, I didn’t have a whole lot of time left for editing. I got to mid way through August and was only 10% done with the editing according to my Kindle. Which left me with two options: I could work my bottom off between then and the deadline at the end of the month or I could submit one of my older manuscripts.
I wanted to be on the NWS for two years prior to getting on, and I wanted more than anything to get that critique. My ‘ten day novel’ is a bit of an odd beast with an odd narrative structure and I think it would benefit from a professional critique. Which was why I had to finish it. And I did, a few hours ago (my printer is still recovering).
It seemed slightly fitting that a novel that was written in two weeks had to be majorly edited within an inch of its life in two weeks too!
How often does the real world get in the way of YOUR writing? And how do you combat it?