I took my work outside again yesterday for 30DaysWild - there was a soft breeze and the cloud hid the sun, so I'd expected more people to be outside because, while it was still warm, it was bearable, but it was in fact almost silent. I was coincidently sat beneath the pergola rather than on the grass this time, too, so I was sheltered from the occasional shower, so perhaps everyone else had simply seen the weather forecast.
Anyway. That's not the point of this post.
After far too long - about 2 and a half years - I've finished writing my book. It's not complete because now comes the long and tedious task of revising it - reading it a few times, tweaking things, adjusting things, removing and outright rewriting things. But the bulk of the book is, finally, done, and the story now exists in its entirety. It just needs a thorough polishing.
It shouldn't have taken me as long as it has, but there are other things that pull my attention away from writing. My blog and my shop, for example - I love them both but they can be quite demanding, and when October comes along, so do the Christmas sales. By mid-October my shop takes up all of my time and I have simply no room for anything else. How I've managed to participate in NaBloPoMo every November is a mystery to me.
It makes me kind of sad because, while I love my blog and I love my shop, my writing is what matters to me the most. It's the only thing I've wanted to do since I was 12 years old and it's not changed or wavered in the slightest. My shop is a hobby - a lucrative one that I see no need to put aside - and my blog is an enjoyable hobby, too, and, I hope, informative for others. But it's also a good way of trying to simply make my presence known to the world and hope that, somehow, it might help my book in the long run. An immediate representation of who I am, because, in order of business importance, after the book comes the author themselves.
I knew I would feel something when I finished writing it - I wasn't sure what because I couldn't remember how I felt when I finished my last book - and it didn't disappoint. There was a strange sort of satisfaction, but a vaguely empty one, and it's a really unique feeling. Like saying goodbye to a friend for good, and yet never having met them. I know that sounds cheesy, by the way. But the story is finished; the characters and world not likely ever to be revisited.
But I also feel victorious at the same time - this was something I did recall from the last book, but not as intensely this time around. Last time: I wrote the book, read it through with lacklustre, tweaked the first half and submitted it to fantasy literary agents. It was rejected and, in hindsight, I'm really not surprised. I finished writing the book and I'd considered it done; revising it was an after-thought and I think that was a big part of what let it down. This time, however, I've done it differently. Each time I finished writing a chapter I sat down and read it through to spell check, make sure it made sense and tweak bits. I had every intention of reading it through again from cover to cover once it was finished, but by reading each chapter individually I cut down the work I have ahead of me now because I know there are less tweaks and spelling corrections to be made.
So while I feel a sense of accomplishment, I'm fully aware that I'm not finished yet. In fact, the light at the end of the tunnel has only just sparked into existence. It's still a way off. With with the summer holidays around the corner and my synaesthesia, I've finished at the worst time of the year. If I'd finished back - or forwards - in January, I would have 6 months of virtually uninterrupted time to work through it, which would be far more than enough. Now, however, I give it two weeks before the noise starts in the field behind my house when GCSE students get out of school early to revise for their exams. They're the noisiest people and thy're out there at all times of the day and night with no respect for those living around them. They shout, they scream, they swear and they play their awful music very loudly for everyone to hear. My synaesthesia responds to music a little too actively which means my head is awash with colour, and when that happens, I haven't a hope in hell of concentrating on anything important. But, for once, rather than stress myself out with it and try to work through it angrily and, ultimately, unsuccessfully, I'm going to put it off.
There are a number of big changes I need to make to the book and I know they shouldn't take me more than a fortnight to do, so I plan to make these changes whenever the opportunity arises over the next 2 months, and in the far more numerous times that I'm too distracted to do so, I will simply brainstorm the layout of my next book, prepare my shop for Christmas and try to take casual time out for myself, I guess. Once October gets here I won't have a moment to breathe.
Then, when school returns in September, I'm going to read like there's no tomorrow before Christmas can jump in the way. Then, with any luck, I'll finish revising the book by the middle of October and be able to write the synopsis, cover letters, queries and so on between Christmas sales and start sending it all out in January, by which point I'll have certainly started work on the next book.
That's the plan, at least...