You know that saying, about waiting for something for ages and then all of a sudden they all come at once; buses, jobs, men… I’ve had one of those weeks. Not a plethora of buses, jobs or men… that would be ridiculous, but book stuff. Which is only marginally less ridiculous…
I wake up on Monday. I’ve decided to take the week off writing to catch up on a few other bits, and give my draft some breathing space. Then I get an email…
“I’m pleased to inform you that you have been selected for a Free Read from the Literary Consultancy.”
Based on the draft I sent to SW Literary, I’ve been selected for a bursary that means I get my manuscript read by a professional followed by an assessment emailed to me about what they read. I was thrilled to bits, it’s an external eye that I desperately need to help knock my book in to shape and it gave me some much needed validation. I happy danced all the way around our house before realising I was going to have to do A LOT of work to the manuscript before sending it off to make the most of the opportunity. Cue me editing into the night time..
Then, Wednesday comes; I’m banging my head against a brick wall. There is a gaping hole in my story and I can’t work out how to fix it. I wonder if I can even do this. Then I procrastinate on my favourite website Novelicious.com and see I have won their September Pinterest competition for Flash Fiction. It’s only a small thing, but it meant masses to me. It was a bit more validation from people I admire. I was thrilled.
It encourages me to keep on working on the book. It renews my hope that I can fix the hole in the book. It reminds me that it takes time to get these things right.
We reach Friday, I am sat watching telly. I’ve done the best I can do on the book to send off for assessment without holding them up. I know there is still work to do (word count is too low for starters) and I can see that there are areas to expand but I think I need the space I was going to take to work out how to fix it. I’ve opened a bottle of red and I’ve put my feet up… then I see a tweet, about the Festival of Romance. Then I remember I had entered their New Talent Award with the first chapter of my book. There is a weblink to the shortlisted … “authors of tomorrow”… I look. Fully expecting not to see my name there. Wrong klaxon! I’m only chuffing on it! In fact, I kept refreshing the page and re-reading my name to make sure I hadn’t got it wrong, made it up, dreamt it. I checked again at 5.30am this morning to make sure that I wasn’t actually on a list of people who should jack it all in and never darken their doorstep again.
I’ve been shortlisted! I am over the cotton-picking moon. I am smiling from ear to ear. I keep getting little butterflies of joy at the whole thing.
So what does this tell me? Other people who know what they are talking about, believe that there is something there. That there is a small glimmer of hope that this whole mid-life crisis may actually come good at some point, down the line… That I can write an opening chapter of a book. Oh… oh there it is, the crashing back to reality. The start may be a tricky bit, but finishing it and making it the best book it can be is the really hard bit. I am enthused that people are engaged by the beginning, but I’m not unrealistic – I still have ALL THE WORK IN THE WORLD TO DO.
Still. I shall bathe in the glory for a a day or two. It’s all progress, eh! And I am very proud of myself. :)))