It’s a numbers game.
How quickly a writer’s emotions can change. There I was, a couple of weeks back, with a novel stuck for months at slightly less than 40,000 words and struggling to find time or inclination to press on.
Today, with a smile on my face, I note the tally has now passed the landmark 50,000 words. In seemingly next to no time a work in progress has leapt from setting the scene to looking towards the grand finale.
OK, so there may be another 30,000 or so words to go, depending on what my characters decide to do, but it’s the sort of progress that draws the line between “I’m writing a book” and “I’ve got a book to finish.” A watershed in a writer’s life.
It is akin to running a marathon – something of which I have had plenty of experience. The first 13km or so are relaxed, easy-going and almost with time to look at the scenery. You’ve done this length of run too many times to count.
Then it gets serious; you’ve got the groundwork done and now, for the next 13km or so, you realise you are in for the long haul. You settle into a rhythm, a pace with real purpose. Forget the scenery; that’s for another day. You are now building a solid base. The halfway mark has come and gone; now you can start to think ahead and visualise the finishing line, now so much closer than the start.
There is more behind you than in front. Time to take a deep breath and push on. No more looking around, no more awareness of the others in the race; it’s you and that push to the finish.
And that’s where I am at: two-thirds of my marathon done and full of confidence about going the distance. A great feeling. And, who knows, I might even find a publisher this time around.
Fourth time lucky?