How does it feel to finish a manuscript?

It felt like I had run a marathon, backwards!! I had grappled with the plot; wrestled with alien names; tried to consider all the elements which make up a good manuscript; stuck to a writing plan of 1,000 words per day and I had finally finished the first draft. It had taken me 8 months from the day I decided to write a novel.

The story wasn’t anything like I had expected it would turn out. That was the biggest surprise!!

The ambition to write a novel, for the first time in my life, felt like a reality.

What is the one fact that ensures you complete the manuscript?

The best piece of advice, which I had very much taken on board, was courtesy of a YouTube video, posted by an author called Michael Levin. He said ‘just get the script written. Do not ponder over whether it is good or not, whether it is the best you can write because you can sort all that out in the edit. If you don’t finish the story you won’t produce the book.’

There’s a temptation to edit your work continually, try to achieve perfection with each chapter you write, as you pen it, constantly checking and re-checking. The problem with this approach is that there is a good chance you will never finish the book.

Out of 1,000 people who decide to write a book and actually start to write a manuscript, 97% will not finish. Of the 3% who finish, only 20% of those will actually publish their book. That means, in essence, out those 1,000 individuals with a dream of becoming an author, only 6 will achieve their goal!

If nothing else I was now part of an exclusive club, the 3%!! I can tell you it is quite emotional.

What goes through your mind once you’ve completed the first draft?

Every obstacle you have faced: when you thought to yourself ‘this is too difficult, I can’t do this’ and you struggled on; when you reach 30,000 words and you hit a brick wall; every moment you struggled with the plot and you just couldn’t fathom out a solution; the days you just didn’t feel up to writing because you had a bad day; every word of encouragement from family members when you were immensely frustrated because things weren’t working out; it all came down to this moment, it’s like winning Olympic gold or at least what I can imagine that must feel like.

Is there a downside to finishing your first manuscript?

Only one slight niggle. A thought occurs, ‘you are the only person in the world who knows your story.’ You are about to embark on a scary journey, by sharing your story with the world.

Next – The Edit