So, my book is almost finished. Note the optimistic use of the word 'almost'. There is still some work to do. I have a character whose fate I have not yet finally fixed on. I also need to decide whether to give it a happy or more pensive ending which sounds like a big job but really just depends on how I close the final chapter.
After that it will be a case of proof reading and tidying up and then it will be complete. It's taken me the best part of a year, written in snatched hours as and when. There have been lots of early weekend mornings when the house is quiet and a fair bit of thinking as I walk around fetching children. I have never taken my laptop to a cafe as I dreamed I might and it has always come second to the other calls on my time but I've got there in the end.
I have to say that writing a book has been an extraordinarily interesting and enjoyable process. When I started last January, I had the bare bones of an idea and a couple of jumbled characters in my head. The plot has chopped and changed and morphed itself into something quite different from the one that I began with. The cast of characters grew and then shrank and whilst they have, in the main, ended up doing what I thought they would, they have not all got there by the means that I originally intended.
At various points I got stuck and had to come up with a new angle to start the process up again. Some of the ideas have been left along the wayside to pick up if I ever pass by that way again.
The strangest part of the whole process for me has been that my book is not a bit like I imagined it would be. It has been said that we all have a book in us but until you try to release it you can't tell what yours will be like. The way the words have come together for me is quite different in style to other things that I've written. This surprised me. I had assumed they would all be pretty much the same. I also now know that I am not a literary genius and will never pen a Man Booker winning tome. But I haven't enjoyed the task any the less for discovering that.
And so, when I finally put the last full stop on what I have written, what will I do with it next? Do you know, I really have no idea. Most of me wants to put it away in a drawer and get on with the next one, the plot of which is already building in my head.
But a tiny part of me, and I do mean tiny, has to wonder whether I should send my manuscript out into the big, bad world to see if it can make its fortune. We'll see.
I think that the most important part to me is that when my book is totally finished, I will be able to say that I once wrote a novel. And then I will place a big, fat tick next to that particular life's ambition and move on to the next one.