Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Two drafts down, I have no idea how many more to go...

Okay, so here goes.

On February 10th 2012 I found out from my current employer that I was one of many of a list of people lined up to have their jobs unfairly taken from them through redundancy. I know it's something that, especially with the way the current employment climate is going, most people have to watch out for. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have since been told that to keep my position in the firm I need to move almost 200 miles away to a new office they have built.

I turn 36 in less than 3 weeks and do not relish the idea of having to fight for new employment, with a new company and having to get to know new people and new procedures and everything else that goes with it. But I am also a husband to an amazing woman and a Daddy (Not Dad yet, there's a day I'm not looking forward too) to two beautiful and wonderful girls. My wife and I have discussed the idea of relocating, but for us it's simply not an option. The girls are settled in school with friends, my wife has family local to us, all the usual stuff. So I decided to come up with a backup plan and a while ago started to mess around with an idea for a story, it was nothing serious, just a thought I had about a story I wanted to tell, so whilst I was still being paid by my soon to be ex-employer I decided that I would give writing my tale on to paper a proper go.  (Question 1: Is it paper if you’re using a computer to write the story?)

I was going to write a book, how hard could that be?

Turns out, very. I wrote my first draft, in about 6 months and to a certain extent I was very pleased with myself. Not because what I had written was any good, because it wasn't, but it was a start. Without any hesitation I ploughed on with my second draft, which I finished this week. Hurrah for me! Now I have to start on Version 3.

The weird thing is, when I started this project I didn't really think that I would get past the first chapter and now, after writing over 800 pages of the first 2 drafts collectively I find myself slightly underwhelmed. I knew that I would have to write what I suppose I could call a book at least 3 times before I would be ready to let someone read it, but in all honesty, I really thought that with every draft I would be a little bit closer to realising my dream of hopefully being called a writer.

I originally started this venture as an experiment really. I wanted to know if I could take control of my own destiny and change my way of thinking and feeling, knowing that you are going to be made redundant can be a real weight and worry, but if nothing else, if I wrote a fictional book, it was one thing I could tick off of my bucket list. Now here I am, having written, essentially, the same story twice, ready to embark on it for a third time and it struck me that at some point I am going to have to ask someone to read my work and critique it.

It's not the feedback that bothers me; I believe that any and all feedback is helpful as long as it is given constructively.  No, what I think is freaking me out is actually handing over to my wife or a friend, something that I would have spent over a year working on.

(Question 2: At what point do you know that what it is you have done is good enough to share with another?)

What happens if they read it and hate it? Or worse still, what happens if they read it and hate it, but tell me that they think it's amazing, fabulous, original, thought provoking to save me any embarrassment or heartache. I don't want to be one of those people on the X factor who take their loved ones along with them and watch as a member of their family stands up in front of thousands of people to audition and then murders a well known hit song. I wonder why it is their friends and family let them do that?

Anyway, I suppose at some point I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and see how it goes and hope that whoever reads it for the first time at least likes/loves me enough to be brutally honest. I just hope I can be brave enough to give it to someone and not freak out after I have done so. I'm sure that there's a metaphor in there somewhere, but I'll be damned if I can find it.

I have to go, so until next time my imaginary friend, stay safe and above all stay cool.


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