Thursday, September 23, 2010

A manuscript

I have written five books, none of them yet published. Most of them I completed several years ago and up until now they have been saved in files on my computers, shuffled from system to system, occasionally tweaked but generally left unappreciated, unedited and unfulfilled. I don't believe a book is truly fulfilled until it is bound and held in the hands of a Reader, someone who enjoys exploring the written word.

I have begun to ease these manuscripts from their hiding places, at first sharing a chapter here and there by reading them aloud to my partner, and then slowly sending snippets to friends. One of my very dear friends offered to take an entire manuscript recently. This was an offer that had been made before by other people interested in my work. Occasionally I have sent a manuscript to someone to read and edit, but I know quite well the commitment they are extending to me and I'm not surprised when, in a few months time, the manuscript is returned untouched. Editing is a daunting task and largely the reason why my five completed novels and dozens of short stories have remained hidden from the public eye. I dislike editing my own work as it seems like a task so overwhelming that I don't know where or how to begin. Of course I've also been told a writer should never edit their own work.

Well, someone asked and I offered so another manuscript was sent. And for the first time ever I have received it back, read through twice (I am told) and edited thoroughly.

I am absolutely stunned and utterly pleased with this development. I haven't had a chance to look it over and to be honest, I'm sort of savouring the anticipation. I plan to make time for it, a window of space enjoyed with a cup of tea and perhaps a lovely feline friend. I will curl up and read my own words and read the words of someone I admire, having looked over the very same pages and offered their reflections, ideas and critiques.

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