I finished the first rough draft of my new novel!
It took me about six weeks from start to finish, writing in A5 notepads on trains, in cafes and on my rocking chair at home. I’ve broken off from sentences to play with my daughter and come back to them, I’ve broken off from sentences to chat to my wife and come back to them, I’ve broken off from sentences at the end of a journey and then run into the concourse at Waterloo to continue for ten more minutes. I haven’t just wanted to do this, I’ve needed to do it. My goal was set, the memories of all the other writings I failed to finished burned in my mind, and I knew that – this time – I had to deliver
And yet, when I finished that final chapter, I didn’t feel as happy as I thought I might.
I have, I estimate, about 70,000 words (most of which will have to be re-written), I have 48 chapters (some of which, I know already, will prove superfluous) and I have two notepads full of scribbles which I am already in the process of writing up in a tidier hand. After that I will type it, I will rewrite it some more and then edit it.
There is a certain amount of self-pride, I did have a brief moment of joy, but it’s too bloody early to celebrate. Ahead is a long old trek. I’m sure I face many disheartening moments. Soul-crushing days when I hate not only this book and all its characters, but the very English language itself. Almost certainly I will reach passages I cannot get right no matter how much I try and I will curse my poor feeble brain until I find a way through.
Whatever happens I won’t be quitting though. I promise to the lords of the internet (which is, of course, the most solemn promise a man can make these days) that I will work early in the morning and late into the night to give myself a finished novel – and not just a scrappy first draft – I can be genuinely and truly proud of!