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It never gets old

Creative WritingPosted by Barbara Fri, August 12, 2016 18:25:35

As I intimated in my last post, there are things going on here but I haven't been at liberty to announce them in public.

And me a journalist - I know! Can you imagine how hard this has been for me, a blabbermouth by profession?

Anyway - things are almost there and today, I am delighted to say, I put pen to paper on a new publishing contract.

The sharp-eyed among you will see that the title of the new book is The Misper. For anyone who hasn't heard this expression, it's police-speak for a missing person.

This is the work that's taken the huge amount of editing and inspired a series of very grumpy posts about how much I hate this part of the writing process. But what I also know is that it's all worth it, if in the end, it makes the manuscript good enough to be accepted by a publisher.

One of the many myths about writing is that it flows out of the creative brain and lands perfectly formed on the page. Not so. There are a million famous quotes by established authors on this subject.

You can't get more explicit than Hemingway's "The first draft of anything is shit."

Perhaps equally famous is Stephen King's "“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

And Colette, from 1964: "“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his [sic] own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it."

Not all writers can bear the process of editing to please a publisher. But while I don't enjoy the process, the rewards outweigh the pain for me.

Two or three friends have asked, as this is my fifth commercial publishing contract, whether it feels any less exciting this time around. The answer is no: it still feels fantastic and I can't wait to go through all the best bits again, from the first proof copy to seeing the cover to holding the first printed books in my hand. And getting responses from readers, which is genuinely uplifting. All that stuff never gets old, I promise.

More to come very soon on The Misper, I promise. I am off to celebrate. And if you are an aspiring writer and you're gnashing your teeth, then listen up: I'm no one special, but I am persistent. And this is not a zero sum game. If it can happen for me, it can happen for you. Keep writing.

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