Once I had started writing my historical fiction novel the things I needed just seemed to fall in my way. I went to a wedding and met another writer with whom I talked for hours and even struck up an email friendship. She and I have many similar interests. In our local newspaper I found a course on writing, took it and met many more people doing what I am doing. From that I hooked into an extreme editing course for which I drove an hour or longer if traffic on the Queen E was heavy. I learned a lot there and acted on reams of helpful feedback. The glitch for me was that some of the comments were not useful but I took months to sort those out and discard them. Learning who not to listen to was just as important as taking the advice of knowledgeable classmates.
I kept writing most of the three years although there were a couple of long dry spells when my life was just too loaded to concentrate on writing. My husband and I sold our large home of thirty-one years and moved into a condo and, even though we are not pack rats, the sorting out lasted many weeks and involved two garage sales, an email offering of precious pieces to friends and family, and many trips to the local Salvation Army depot. We brag that we are the only people who were ever told not to bring anything else. We were refused by the Sally Ann! Makes a good story but the real reason was they needed the space for making up their Christmas baskets.
After our move I started writing again in earnest. The joy of immersing myself in John and Lucy’s story for hours at a time came rushing back. They had not disappeared but were just waiting for me to get to it. I did. I finished my first draft about a year after starting writing. Then I let the draft sit for several weeks in order to gain perspective so that I could read it with a fresh eye. I had planned to work on shorter pieces during that time but that didn’t happen. Eventually I reread my novel, pencil in hand, and then went to the computer. Hack, slice, cut the corpse, I had to mold the body of my work. This took a long time as I kept taking writing courses and getting sidetracked, doubting myself, trying to learn what was good and what was bad. I enlisted the help of a dozen readers for their opinions and worked through all of those very helpful comments.
Through it all the months and years slipped by. Finally in March, 2010, I took myself in hand, grew a spine and did the final, final, final draft. I finished it. I know there may be changes needed down the road to publishing but for now my novel is completed. And I search for an agent.