By Martha Reed
A wonderful thing happened on Saturday morning around 11AM. I finished my manuscript.
Completely. Finito. Ad infinitum. Can I get a hallelujah?
The best part of finishing it was the realization as I sat there, in my chair at my kitchen table, stunned that I was done, that I had really finished writing my second novel. The true beauty of that moment was that I could finally – after fifteen years of concerted effort – relax. You see, there had always been this niggling doubt in the back of my mind after I finished the first one that I might not be able to do it again. I can lay that doubt, at least, to rest. I did it once. I did it twice. I can do it again.
The best part is, so can you.
I’m not writing this blog to brag about it but I'm in hope that my experience might offer encouragement to someone out there who is struggling through their manuscript now. I’ve been there. It’s tough, no doubt about it. There will come a time when you get half way in at 50,000 words and look at a blank new chapter heading and think: ‘this whole thing is crap and I’ve wasted years of my life’.
Even if you write crap, and more crap, and then edit the crap, you will one day get to a place where one sentence doesn’t really look all that bad. This may lead you to a paragraph and that paragraph may introduce a new character to you and your future readers and that character may be the voice you’ve been looking for. It won’t come easy, and if it does, you’re probably not being completely honest with yourself. Writing is hard; it makes you dig deep because, honey, that’s where the gold is.
How’s that for a voice?
And now for the best part. I get to go shopping for an agent. I love shopping, and this time, I know exactly what I’m looking for – I should – I’ve been researching the idea for as long as I’ve been writing the manuscript. And I have to admit, looking back on it, which is a very nice place to be, that I’m glad it took so long for me to learn the craft because it knocked all the crap out of me, too, as far as my expectations go. I’ve got my head on straight, my eyes on the prize, and I’m ready to play.
Deal me in, boys. I’ve got product. And it's good.