Writing is a waiting game
Reflections on being out on submission
Earlier this year, I finished writing my book Song of the Summer. It was a long time coming. I’d written the first words for it back in October 2015.
There are many reasons why it took so long, but a big one was this idea of ‘finished’. What does that even mean? When on earth is a book finished? When is it good enough for a publisher to read it? Everyone has a different opinion. Some writers send out their first drafts. Others would rather die than have anyone read their first drafts.
All I knew was that seven years was a LONG time to be writing a book and that I am incapable of doing anything without a deadline, so I set one for myself: the Text Prize closed on Monday 20 February which also happened to be one week before I started my Master’s degree. Two great reasons which would hopefully motivate me to finish writing my book: send it off to this great opportunity and clear my writing slate ahead of starting my thesis.
So I decided that was the answer: my book would be finished on Monday 20 February, whether I liked it or not (spoiler alert: I almost exclusively did not like it). My confidence in this decision wavered many times, particularly over the Christmas period when I wasn’t getting any writing done (note to self: holidays are not for ‘catching up on work’).
But against all the odds, I did finish writing Song of the Summer about ninety minutes before the Text Prize deadline. I kissed it goodbye and sent it off. I felt sick about it. But I let it go.
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