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Eye of the Storm

(or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Peer Edits)

Suddenly, in the midst of a maelstrom of e-mails and edits, a strange calm has descended over my keyboard.

Writing a novel is a daunting challenge. Not only does the word count seem to grow at a snail’s pace, but there is the constant nagging worry that plagues every author – “Is it any good?” I took breaks during this creative period, but they were more… reprieves than anything else. It’s hard to truly take a break when you know that you have another 30,000 words left to write.

The day I finished the novel was a good day. I took the evening off, watched Captain America and Thor, and washed down a plate of beef curry with a cold lager or three.

The next day, the real work began. Editing. I gave myself a week to edit the rough draft, but I should have set aside two or three. Sometimes, I spent hours on the same page. But after a sixty-hour death march, I finally reached the end.

Or so I thought. Then it was time to build a website, draft a synopsis, craft a query letter and start knocking on doors. And, the most important of tasks, send the novel out to people who can tell me whether it’s any good. It will be two to three weeks before I find out the answer to that question of questions.

There is, of course, always more to be done. I could be researching agents and publishers. I could be integrating each and every piece of feedback as it comes in. I could start on the second instalment of the Bar on a Beach Mystery series.

But instead, I am enjoying the brief window in time, this eye of the storm, when there is no mammoth task begging for my attention. I am going to tidy my office and pull dandelions from my garden, and steel myself for the months ahead – the daunting business of convincing a publishing house to place their chips on my square for the next spin of the wheel.

Wish me luck.