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THE WRITING LIFE


FIRST OFFER - April 2006


A first offer for the novel arrived in an email from London, prompting profound relief and joy as well as dancing around the room at 2 am. It was a moment to savour, the pleasure more intense for the waiting that preceded it. In the tense period between submission and response, when even my sleep was invaded by anxious thoughts, I rose often in the dark to check my email, or to pensively turn the pages of the manuscript. Would editors be as engaged by its characters as I had been while writing? Would they see a future for it, and, most importantly, was it a good piece of writing?

After each nocturnal waking, I turned out the light and drifted towards sleep along a path paved with positive imaginings. Of all the skills a writer needs, this ability to dramatise a happy outcome is perhaps the most important. How else is it possible to maintain self-belief during the lonely writing process, to keep it up through the inevitable rejections and disappointments and muster the enthusiasm to begin again and again and again? Meditation helps. Yoga helps. But in the end it is only publication that makes sense of the writing life.

So here it is at last, the moment I have been dreaming for so long. And now that it has arrived, the years of effort have evaporated. No matter how many stories and magazine pieces have been sold, nothing could be sweeter than this first offer for a novel. More, as events unfold.
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Musings on the Writing Life ...