Twilight of the World Sea People is now a polished manuscript. I'll be reading the whole novel again from the beginning over the next couple of days to tweak a few systemic errors I can't tackle with Find/Replace, but they really are just word changes here and there. By Sunday night, I'll have done all I know how to do with this novel. It will be the best book I could have written with the skills I had when I wrote it. I will finally (since books are never really finished) abandon it, and any imperfections therein I will happily live with unless and until I am asked by an agent or editor to address them.
I learned a lot about writing from this book, and I learned even more about the writing life, if such a thing can be said to exist. Primary among these lessons is that writing kicks your ass when you're doing it correctly and takes the very best part of your mind to do with any skill. Because of this, it's important to carve out space for the act of creation and never, never let anything encroach upon it. When things begin to encroach, as they inevitably will, you must value your work enough to put them aside, over and over again if necessary. This is hardest to do when you've never sold a book before, because your work isn't making any money yet, and so it's harder to justify letting the shocks on the car squeak, or letting the floor go un-mopped, or letting that volunteer web site gig wait until you've finished those chapter edits. Toward the end here, the only interruptions I allowed were for wildlife rescue, and that was only because another being's life was on the line. And even then, I asked Hope to call upon other volunteers until she ran out of options before calling me.
I'll be taking a few weeks off now to address those shocks, that floor and those web site updates along with a pile of things I've been putting off. I'm also going to go lie in the sun a bit, go swimming and take a long walk on the Blomidon Provincial Park beach. I've earned it. In fact, tonight I'll be attending a wine appreciation evening Sean booked for us at the Muir Murray winery, where the chef will have vegan hors d'oeuvres on hand for us. I've been looking forward to that for a week!
When I come back from my holiday, I'll be imposing some permanent restrictions on my time so that I can give my very best to my work. I've tried doing this before, but I always let the world creep back in again until I was taking time off, for whatever reason, when I should have been writing. I might have to overhaul the way I handle things a bit, but I'm due for that anyway, and I promised myself that I wouldn't go into my second book treating it like a hobby that other people and problems could interrupt. I might have been able to afford that when I was a first-time novelist who wasn't ready to sell her work yet, but that's not who I am anymore.
And let me tell you, it feels good. =)