This question kills me, even though I know it’s the obvious one to ask. The short answer is no. More than once I thought I had finished but it turned out I had only reached milestones along the way. The first draft took almost twelve months to the day. I have now been writing my first novel for two years, five months and forever.
My heart sank today when I heard it took veteran BBC journalist Kirsty Wark ten years to write her novel The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle. Ten years! She gave a talk at the Dalkey Book Festival in Dublin yesterday and I sent my spies along to find out what she had to say.
I’m curious to read her book, despite reading this bad review a few weeks ago, which was breathtakingly spiteful. The Irish Times reviewer actually said: ‘don’t give up the day job’.
Wark started ten years ago but had to put the book to one side because of family commitments until her youngest started university. My youngest hasn’t started school yet. How long before I can find time?
Maeve Binchy addressed this issue in the first page of her book on writing, The Writers’ Club.
“Time doesn’t appear from nowhere. You have to make it, and that means giving up something else. Regularly. Like sleep, for example, or drinking or playing poker, or watching television, or window-shopping or just lounging about with your family.”
As it is I do regularly give things up for writing. But what if I’ve been giving up the wrong things?
The time has come to question where the writing blog fits in here. Would Maeve Binchy ever have finished Light a Penny Candle if she’d been blogging about it? I’ve published more than 70 posts over eighteen months, an average of 500 words per post. That’s a lot of words, half a novel in fact.
Without further ado, I hereby declare this blog temporarily suspended – normal service to be resumed when my novel is finished. I hope to connect again with fellow bloggers and followers of the site when the time is right.
Have a great summer folks!
ps. here is a link to Ashra’ Wish, a story I wrote for children which has just been published on a new children’s stories website.