Many of you probably know that I have a novel. It’s not on the shelves, or even actually published yet* – but I still have a novel.
I finished writing it a few months ago and printed it out in A4 manuscript form. It was such an awesome feeling to hold in my hands the product of three years work. Granted, I didn’t work solidly on it. I mean, c’mon, I write for a living so in the evenings, after spending the whole day working with words, the last thing I wanted to do was play with some more.
No, I had to specifically set aside time to write. I didn’t make a schedule or set myself a daily word limit. But what I did do was go: “Okay, Friday I’m heading off to Mugg & Bean with my laptop to write.” And I would. I’d find a table near a plug, make friends with the waiter, let them know I would probably be a while – and then I’d write. Sometimes for as long as six hours. I’d type my way through breakfast, tea and lunch. Half way through my waiter would let me know their shift was ending soon, so I’d settle my bill and open a new one with the person who replaced them. That way they both got a tip. Hey, my own waitressing stint may have only lasted a not all that impressive four days, but I do have a heart.
I tried to write at a few other places, but there was just something about Mugg & Bean. Maybe it was the sameness, the dependability, or perhaps it was just that I have an unhealthy love for their Whippy Wedges (trust me, nomness). Whatever it was, it was the only place I found myself really able to get sucked into the imaginary world of Leonard and Typhanee.
I suspect that it’s because I cannot really write in silence. If I sit at home and try to get into the story I find a million and one things that need doing – and not always fun things either. I cleaned the bathroom more than once, it’s that bad. At a place like M&B I’m forced to sit down and tune out the noise.
But that’s all in the past – for now**. Before I start working on my next novel (the seeds are there), I need to get this one off to some publishers. Before I can do that, however, I need to actually read the dratted thing myself and decide if it’s any good. Then I have a few fellow writers waiting “patiently” in the wings to read and edit it for me. Yes, I can hear you tapping your feet over there. Just grab another beer and don’t get your knickers in a twist, it’s coming… eventually.
You’d think that reading your own book would be easy. It’s not. I’m completely terrified that it’s horrible and that I’ve been deluding myself for these three years. But I’m trying to drown out that Twakkie-esque voice in my head that’s telling me it’s kak. People have read some of the chapters and have enjoyed them. So really, it can’t be that bad. I picked up a pencil and started to read it making notes in the margins as I went along. But after a month of so of trying that technique I’ve realized it’s not working. There’s nothing else for it than to fire up my laptop, open up my manuscript, save as and then go for it, hell for leather, or whatever.
So on Sunday I took a day off work. After sweeping the house, cleaning the kitchen and washing the curtains (yes, really) I finally sat down with my laptop – only for it to stamp it’s little rubber feet and refuse to play along.
It appears that having a laptop for something like six years is rather a long time. Almost Biblical in fact. So yes. After Boyfriend Fiancé Person rescued it from my white knuckled, trembling grip and got it to start up properly I made a start on my editing – properly.
But I cannot escape the cold truth that I need a new laptop. It’s exciting and everything, getting a flash new machine to play with, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a bit of a grudge purchase. I like my old, slow, sticker bedecked laptop that sometimes sounds like there’s a cow squashed inside it. Also, we’re supposed to be saving for a wedding here. I could have fed 20 people for the amount I’ve just dropped on a new computer.
I have to keep reminding myself, however, that it’s needed. The last thing I’d want is for this laptop to crash mid edit and for me to lose all my writing and pictures – again. Don’t ask, mmkay?
And besides, maybe I sell my novel for millions***, throw in the film rights and merchandising and then we can feed 5000 at our wedding, on so much more than a few loaves and fishes.
*See what I did there? How’s that for putting it out into the universe? Suck on that The Secret.
** Bam, I did it again!
*** Too far? Yeah, guessed so, but a girl can dream.