(This isn’t meant to be the whinge it seems like, honest.)
Once upon a time, I could write a book at leisure, with no deadlines in sight, no pressure, no distractions from reviews, no promotion to do. That stage was called being unpublished. I imagined being a writer meant I just had to write and maybe turn up for the odd extravagant lunch and a glass of wine with editors.
No chance. When I’d stopped dancing from my publishing deal, I had to do all of the other stuff, and then some (though I still get plenty of food and wine). I’d come home from my day job, only to start working again, and I do this because it’s simply easier than not writing.
Possibly the only thing I’ll ever miss about being unpublished is the freedom to just write; it’s the properly old-school experience of writers who simply locked themselves in their rooms and stumbled out a few years later clutching a manuscript. You can bet F. Scott Fitzgerald wouldn’t last a month having to do so many blog interviews, the poor lamb.
I never like talking about the art writing – the actual nuts and bolts – because I cringe whenever others talk about it. Sure there are some dos and don’ts (which are often misunderstood) but for the most part you do your own thing; and so far I’ve found that those who talk loudly about sentences quite often know the least. That said, on a more macro level, do learn to enjoy that deadline-free process, because you might never again enjoy the luxury of freedom.
Of course, I should say I wouldn’t swap anything for where I’ve managed to get so far. I’m very lucky and work with fantastic people.
So, this is a rather long way of saying that The Book of Transformations – first draft – has been handed in. I’ve (pretty much) hit the deadline. And I feel like I’ve staggered out from hibernation, blinking whenever I stare at the sun. I’ve got the fourth in the series to start, and the edits will return very shortly once Julie has sharpened her pencil, but for the next week or two I’ve got very little to do. I came home from work and thought, ‘Huh, now what?’ and it feels pretty good.
What do normal people do exactly?