Is it finished?

Sunday Blog 92 – 9th July 2023

I would hate to estimate when it was that I bumped into a woman I did coaching training with – let’s say for argument’s sake it was more than three years ago. She knew I had started a novel in about 2015 which was about the time we started studying together. So in 2019 she asked me “Is it finished?”

It was a perfectly sensible question to ask me. But it was not. “It” was the novella, Not His Story that I have dragged through at least three online courses, a retreat in Delphi, Greece, through the mill of a couple of mentors, both of whom pronounced it unpublishable. It ballooned to more than 100,000 words, shrank to 25,000. It even spent a brief stint in the bin. It was rescued from said bin two years ago when I applied for the Western Australian Emerging Writers Program. When I was successful in that application, I had the “oh shit!” moment of realising that it meant I would have to actually finish the damn book.

And with the framework that the Emerging Writers Program provided, I did finish the damn book. Workshops and a group all suffering together, and a mentor who set me on my wobbly legs and encouraged me to the finish line.

But only to manuscript stage, where now it can experience a whole new set of rejections but this time with publishers. If I am very lucky, it may be accepted for publication. And acceptance will mean yet more work to ensure it meets the publishers expectations while staying true to my vision of the book.

I do understand what Liz Gilbert talks about with the shit sandwich of writing. It’s not for everyone, and talent alone will never get you there. So much work is required.

But I do believe this particular shit sandwich is for me.

And now, off to celebrate this milestone of finishing the damn book!

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