A piece of string

I’m trying to finish my novel. By which I more specifically mean I’m trying to find the point where I say, ‘It’s finished.’

It’s taken me a long time, hasn’t it? Six years, nearly seven, since my first was published and not much done between then and now. I need to finish writing something sometime soon. Something that gets published. Something that people read. Otherwise I’m not really a writer anymore, more someone who has written.

I’ve done a lot of things to try to make sure this manuscript gets finished. I stayed in Abu Dhabi for two weeks at Christmas time while the mister and the lads went back to Australia. I got a lot done then, but I didn’t get it finished. I get up at 4.30 a couple of mornings each week to squeeze some time in before I go to work. I get a lot done that way too, but it doesn’t get it finished.

I keep thinking, ‘Two weeks. If I give it two good weeks I will get it finished.’ And I do that and then I realise that there are two more weeks to get it to the next stage and the next and then the next. I know the onion analogy gets a lot of airplay when people are talking about writing. But it’s not peeling an onion, it’s making one, like adding the layers one by one.

This time I think there really are only two more weeks. The framework is strong now and I can’t move any of it. I look through this draft now and I see the places where I need to put in more of this sub-plot, make that storyline stronger, strengthen this paragraph with a bit of detail.

It’s closer than it’s ever been. Two more weeks and it will be there.

But I remember back when the mister and I still thought that we would finish the boat we had started building. ‘Tell everyone six months,’ our boatbuilding teacher told us. ‘It’s close and far away at the same time.’

I wonder what tricks that piece of advice is playing with my subconscious because all my two weeks turn into another six months. And I need to finish. If I keep doing this two weeks thing my thoughts will start getting stale. I’ll never start anything new. And this will never get published.

So I’m drawing a line. I’m going to do a proofread, then I’m sending it off to my agent. It’s time for the next stage to begin.

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