I did something amazing this weekend. I wrote two words. Those two words you can see there on the left.
Those two words of course had been preceded by about 70,000 other words. I have finished book number eight. Well, when I say finished… This first draft has to be re-read and polished. There are a couple of extra scenes I want to put in, and a couple more I want to develop further. I do a bit of editing as I write, but mostly I make notes and go back later to fix the bits that need fixing.
That usually means I write a lot more words.
So for me, The End actually means only about another 10,000 to 15,000 words to go.
Then there’s all that punctuation and spelling to worry about, not to mention grammar.
But those two words are an important event, because once I’ve written them, I am allowed to start thinking about the next book. Which is a good thing, because by this point there are quite a few characters banging around in my head saying ‘Me next!’
I find it really hard to believe I am about to start my ninth book. How did that happen? It seems only last year that I submitted The Farmer Needs a Wife to an editor and crossed my fingers. All of them. And some toes as well.
Let’s be totally clear about this, I’m not sitting here thinking how clever I am to have written eight books. I am sitting here wondering how on earth I managed to do that and if I will be able to write number nine.
You see, for me, books have always been magical. And the people who write them – well, magicians of course. I never thought I would ever be a magician, even after that first editor rang me to tell me she wanted to publish my book. I still have trouble believing that I’ll ever be able to do it again.
Here’s how it’s been for those books…
Book 1 – OMG! They want to publish it!
Book 2 – Just because I wrote one book, doesn’t mean I can write another. I probably can’t.
Book 3 – OK. I had two good ideas. But this one is rubbish. No-one will ever want it.
Book 4 – Why am I writing this book? It will never find a publisher.
Book 6 – I have bitten of more than I can chew. I’ll never make this idea work.
Book 7 – There isn’t enough time to get this done and if I miss my deadline my publisher will drop me.
Book 8 – Arrggghhhh. Book 7 was nominated for an award – I’ll never be able to match that again.
So now – I’m up to book 9. What I am thinking?
All of the above really. Even after all this time and all those words. Writing is a privilege and a wondrous thing. I am honoured that people want to visit my fictional world and get to know my friends there.
Of course, I now know just how much hard work is involved in making magic. But oh – when that magic works, it’s just the best feeling in the world.
So number 9 … here I come.