A Writer’s Life – In the Slow Lane
Last week I went back to my notebooks. There were some specific notes I had made when I started writing my story that I wanted to find to help me with my current rewrites. When I eventually came across the scribbles I was looking for I was surprised to see that they were dated January 2017. In my mind I hadn’t been working on this story for very long, but in looking back I realised that it had been well over a year and a half, and it surprised me.
Later in the week I saw a friend who asked me how the rewrites were going and I found myself saying that it was slow. Because that day I’d worked for three hours solidly, and had managed to rework just 10 pages, out of 143.
Writing is slow. It is so slow. And there is nothing you can do to change that. It is unlike any other job I’ve ever had; you can’t estimate how long it will take you, there are no such things as shortcuts, and you definitely can’t delegate the bits you don’t enjoy along the way.
So last week week it struck me, not just once, but twice, that to be a writer you need to know that you are driving in the slow lane, and you just have to trust that you’ll make it to your destination eventually – wherever that may be: finishing your book, finding an agent, finding a publisher, or starting again and working on something new.
In about a year from now the book I’m currently rewriting will be published and it will be joyful to see it come into the world. Of course at this point I have no idea what it will look like, or how it will be received, but I am looking forward to getting to that point anyway. And in the meantime I’ve packed an everlasting flask of coffee, some decent snacks and have scheduled some stop-offs with good friends along the way…I figure that will help me drive steady for another year or so in the slow lane.