Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nearing the Finish Line

I can see it. It’s white, like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. However, this is the contemporary publishing industry, so perhaps it’s an oncoming train. After eight months, I hope not.

I am nearing the end of a novel, perhaps (fingers crossed) within 30 pages. At my current pace, that’s two, maybe three more of writing. Then, as always, I’ll print the manuscript out, take out my lucky mechanical pencil, start the intravenous flow of coffee, and attempt to finish “final” (before an editor gets his or her hands on it) revisions within a few days. Hopefully, it will ready to go to my agent within three weeks.

The process has been many things: One, for certain, is exhausting. Living on four hours' sleep is, well, tiring. But it has also been exhilarating—laying brick after brick until you finally seen wall completely constructed. More than anything, though, finishing this book in particular has required a lot of blind faith. After I sold my first novel, the next four were written under contract. However, I'm writing this book on spec. Hopefully, someone will buy it. I think it is the best thing I've written. In the end, though, all you can do is finish it, make it the best you can, and let the process unfold.

James Lee Burke, in a "New York Times" article, once said, “You write it a day at a time and let God be the measure of its worth. You let the score take care of itself; and most important, you never lose faith in your vision." I've always loved this quote because it speaks to what happens at the desk and how writers must deal with all that takes place away from the desk—most of which is beyond the average author’s control: publication or rejection, advance size, print-run totals, publisher support are all based on things most writers have very little control over. And, based on the above quote, it seems that Burke cares little about any of that.

I'm looking forward to seeing how that process plays out with this book. But I must finish it first, so I'm going back to my novel. Enjoy the day.

2 comments:

Donis Casey said...

Good luck, John.

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