By Karen Charlton
I’m reading in bed. This is where I left off, a book in one hand and a pen and a notepad in the other. Notebooks and their jottings are the crumbs leading me back into the forest. Has it really been 2 months since I read or wrote on this topic?
In September, I began a non-fiction manuscript. It’s the largest piece of writing I’ve ever worked on, and even part way through the first draft it’s twice the size of my honours thesis, written over 10 years ago. I remember that 21-year-old student, wishing to file herself away on those library shelves in the Louis Matheson library, and not fully appreciating exactly what those feelings meant. It’s only through writing it begins to make sense.
It’s easy to think of a manuscript as 200 blog posts, of 500 word lumps, strung together neatly into chapters and sub-sections like a necklace. This is what we tell ourselves as we embark on a big project that threatens to swallow us whole; we break it down to numbers, because numbers are easier to hold on to than that string of sentences, which are so full of life.
At the first step of the journey, you ask yourself how do you know you can make the distance on a 100,000 word draft? How do you know that anyone will want to read it? The answer is you don’t. I need to be OK with that if I’m to let myself get lost in this little world I’m building.
In the meantime, I’m over at Allison Tait’s blog Life in a Pink Fibro talking about writing school in her Starting Out series on freelance writing. Pop over and say hi, you’ll be glad you did. Al knows things.