We’ve all heard about, or experienced, the difficulty that comes with finally letting go of your novel, and sending it out into the world. As Winston Churchill said:
Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.
But what if you finish your novel and realise it’s not ready to be flung anywhere other than into a box under your bed, never to see the light of day?
It’s not a practice novel!
They say the first novel you write is a practice novel.
They say every successful novelist has one, or two, or maybe even three manuscripts under her bed that will never see the light of day.
They say a lot of things.
But, fortunately, I hadn’t heard anything they had to say when I started writing my first, this-time-I’m-serious, I’m-gonna-be-famous!, novel. By the time I heard what they had to say, I was well into my first draft, and happily living in the land of Oh Yeah, But I’m Different.
I didn’t need a practice novel. I already had a hard drive full of half-finished, barely started, novels. I’d done my time.
I’d done my time.