As you may now know, since the middle of October I have written daily. Monday to Friday. Only taking time off to look after the kids, make tea or nurse my leg when an over-zealous early morning recycling session ended in my passing out on the bathroom floor and a leg full of bruises that fortuitously co-ordinate with my carpet.
I have, happily, averaged 3000 words a day and I have, happily, only just got to a point where I have considered reading any of it back. I say happily because had I done so before now I may not have given myself the stubborn notion that I must finish just to see if I can and I would most certainly have read it back, shut down my laptop and popped down Tesco for a job application form. I stack a mean shelf. Fact.
During this time I have avoided reading anything other than the news, a few blogs, Facebook (for stalking) and twitter (for lols). It’s been a good thing too, on Friday I await the arrival of author Mhairi McFarlane’s debut novel ‘You had me at hello‘. If reviews, instinct and her twitter feed is anything to go by I will, I suspect, read the book, do many lols, potentially a few rofl’s and maybe shed a tear. I will almost certainly, upon finishing it, quietly turn to my laptop, take a photograph of it and pop it eBay in the knowledge I’ll just never be as clever as that. (Which is why I shan’t not be reading it until I’ve finished my own. To do anything other, would be just plain silly).
So it was foolhardy that today, whilst passing an hour before doing the school run after smugly clicking save on a particularly splendid 4500 words (I haven’t read it – ignorance is bliss) I picked up my first book in a while, turned it over and read the blurb.
And this is the part that, in the film of my life, we will observe Rene Zellweger fall to her knees, hands in the air screaming “NOOOOOOOOO” to the soundtrack of the newly penned number one song “Bollox, somebody’s already written it” (catchy huh!?!)
Because yes. Some fucker has already written it. And had it published.
In truth, this shouldn’t smart as much as it does since I am fully aware that most first novels act more effectively as drawer liners than they ever could as fully published books for Richard and Judy to gesticulate wildly over. But, would you bother writing them if there wasn’t a tiny part of you that hoped you may be a literary genius on your way to overnight success!?
In two weeks, if I continue at the pace I have been working at, I’ll have pretty much wrapped up the first draft of my book. By then, it shall be Christmas. I intend to save my story. Shut off my laptop and envelop myself in the bosom of a Roses tin. Come mid-January I shall print off my story. I shall read it. I shall highlight the bits I think I like, I shall scribble over the bits I don’t. I shall scrutinise its very core to see if the story I think I wrote is in fact the story I actually wrote and if, again in fact, the blurb I read today is less like my book and more like the one it was actually attributed to. For what I know to be true, if I know nothing else… (because I googled it) is that there are only so many stories in this world. Perhaps there is still hope.
Incidentally, when I mentioned this to a good friend of mine in the school playground, she very wisely offered these words “Don’t worry, the published one will probably be shit.” I suspect she is right and therefore I intend to give her my manuscript upon completion, she clearly has my back.