A Milestone


Sometime in the dim interregnum between Thursday night and Friday morning, I submitted the final copy edits of White Feathers to my editor. Thus ended an intense four-month period of rewriting, substantive edits and tweaking. As if the gods had planned it, just as I approached the end of this period, I was offered and accepted a new job and completed the last two nights of editing while heading out to work in the mornings. And as I begin this job, sort out my finances and resume the rest of my life, I realise that while the journey towards publication continues, an important milestone has been reached: after three and a half years and five drafts, my work on this novel is over.

It seems a very long time since that time in October 2010 I sat down and started writing 30,000 rambling words which, with the support of the online writing group I subscribe to, just kept going and going. During that time I have worked two jobs, welcomed a marriage and new arrival in my immediate family circle, mourned the passing of an online friend, travelled the battlefields I mention in the story, walked 32km overnight over six Wicklow hills on solstice night, have sung with a choir in the Rathaus in Vienna and curated a short story contest. Lesson learned – if I am going to make a habit of this novel-writing lark, I’m going to have to speed the hell up. Three and a half years is too long! And I have a few first drafts waiting…

This first novel will probably be a bit different from the rest, because it isn’t just the novel itself – it is the entire spiritual journey caught up with it. The act of seeing it through, from an incoherent Draft 1 to the finished manuscript I just sent. Deep in my heart, I felt this story was different. Emotionally, it pulled me in. Sometimes I wonder was I so involved that it was not healthy, but I have the sort of personality that I needed to be 100 per cent involved, to the point of obsession. I needed to walk every mile until I reached my Jerusalem.

8 thoughts on “A Milestone

  1. Well done on that milestone, Susan. Nice to read about someone through on the other side. I look forward to seeing it on the shelves. Thanks for sharing so much of the process.

  2. Congratulations, Susan – an interesting post that shows how, for many writers, completing a novel is something that happens within an already busy life. I enjoyed reading this.

    1. Thanks Emily! I was actually off work for the duration of this final draft, but was working for all the other ones. I’m glad I took the time; it made a difference.

  3. Wow! Congratulations! It’s an amazing feat, and wonderful to see you share so honestly the path that brought you to the moment when you hit send on the manuscript. With so many “get rick quick” vibes in the publishing world, it’s lovely to hear an honesty perspective that it takes a long time & a lot of work to get to that point. Huge congratulations to you, Susan!

    1. Thanks Clare, welcome, and glad you liked the post. May I note for the record that I gladly welcome the prospect of being rich and won’t say no to it 🙂

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