The song is over

The second draft of my second novel is finished. My favourite blue pen has been laid to rest in the third drawer of my desk, overlooking a trout stream and weeping willows and will remain there until further notice.  (Editor’s note: Trout stream?)

Now begins the note taking and fact-finding, checking research details and e-mailing prospective researchees. The standard of the next draft needs to go up a notch. All the dross needs to be pared from the bone and slung in the waste bin.

Writing a novel is like scaling Nelson’s Column with hob-nailed boots. You have an idealist’s view of what the landscape should look like, but when you get to the summit the view is never quite what you expected. And – to cap it all – you fear you might be losing your grip.

The only option is to go back to the beginning and start again. Gruelling as it may be, these repeated assaults bring you closer to the outcome you’re looking for. The final draft comes as a huge relief and leaves you with a tremendous feeling of satisfaction.

Ernest Hemingway said the first draft of anything is shit. And so too, in many cases, is the second and the third, if mine are anything to go by. The only answer is perseverence and a catering size jar of coffee to keep you fuelled over the long haul.

Onward and upward …

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