Read, read, read. Read everything–trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.
Do you have any unfinished projects lying around? I certainly do. I have a bottom drawer (physical and online) and an entire filing cabinet full of completed manuscripts, half-finished drafts and notebooks full of plot ideas and snippets of writing.
I’ve been working with an editor on one new incomplete manuscript, and she’s also done an appraisal of another of my books – a finished draft – where she has created a map for what needs doing to get it to publication stage. Now it’s up to me to keep writing, and to get these drafts finished. I figured that was enough for now, and as I found my voice and confidence as a writer again I would naturally find a way forward with everything else.
Of course, when you set some kind of intention with the Universe that actually connects to your Soul Truth it’s amazing how quickly that way forward can be found.
Last week I saw a random post in a Facebook group by someone looking for a manuscript to review as part of a course requirement. I remembered a story in my bottom drawer and sent the person a message, just on spec, to see if it might be appropriate for them. To my delight it was. Which necessitates me now actually forwarding the manuscript to them so they can work on it.
I wrote this book in 2011. Most of it, anyway. I won a writing competition with it for an unpublished manuscript, and cranked out a hurried ending for it in early 2012 and began working with a publishing house. But then I began my Lyme treatment, and became too ill to meet my deadlines, so I pulled out. And then was grateful that I did, because I lost so much cognitive function and executive function that I lost my words, and my ability to hold a story in my head. I feared I would never write again. And I didn’t really. Not for a decade.
So, this book has sat neglected in that figurative bottom drawer since mid 2012.
I found the digital file, and printed it off on Sunday afternoon.
I began reading it in Sunday night, and then I stayed up to after midnight on Monday to finish it. I hadn’t intended to stay up so late. I just got lost in the story, and all the old friends and places from my imagination that had been long forgotten.
I can see bits that need fixing or pruning, a few bits that honestly just need to be culled, and I can see the bits that need a little spit and polish, but overall it’s not nearly as terrible as I had remembered, and so later this week I will send it off on the next part of its journey, and see where that takes us.
It felt good to stay up late, engrossed in a book that I had written.
Hopefully, one day in the not too far off future, you might get to read it too.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Much love, an excellent assortment of post-it notes and coloured pens, and many mugs of tea, Nicole xx