About three months ago, I undertook the fifth (give or take) complete edit of the YA novel I wrote for my masters thesis. The marks, the degree, are all long in. I graduated last year. But the work continued. Submitting something for uni, and submitting it for publication seem to be two different ball games. I wanted to make sure it was as good as I could get it before sending it off in too many directions. Because with /most targets (read: publishing houses) you only get one shot with each manuscript. So when I finished the document, diligently labelled ‘Draft 5’ I thought, that’s it! I don’t think I can do anything else with it until I get feedback from an editor. I’d taken it as far as I could on my own.
However, I still wasn’t sure it was quite ready to submit. So I just sat on it.
Time happened, in its way. I read a lot. I did a couple of short writing courses. I didn’t think about that novel at all. I tried to write another one. Then tried to focus on other things. But then a deadline looms on the horizon: The Ampersand Project. And I start to think about that novel again. I think about what I’ve read in the meantime. I think about what I learned from those short courses. I think about what I’ve been learning from books on writing. And I come to realise something. Even though no one has read that latest draft, even though I was convinced that I couldn’t do another thing to it without the guidance of someone else, even though I’ve not read it since I finished working on it months ago, I know that it need work, and that I’m the one to do that. It’s not done yet and I need to revisit it. Something that I couldn’t believe before. Something that I needed some space to realise, first hand.
So it was time, then, that turned me around. Time, which I can seem to find so little of. And time that will now need to be sculpted to meet the deadline of having it truly ready to submit by September. So, as much as I sometimes think forlornly on the little time that I have to work on my writing, recently a line has been circling my head: ‘You can curse time, or tame it.’
And so that’s what I’ll do. I’ll tame the time as it dances from my grasp and tame my manuscript while I’m at it.