Keeping Occupied While Waiting

On November 15, 2023, my first novel: The Inheritance was released by Five Feline Farm Press.

I’ve discovered that writing a novel is hard work. Maybe that’s why we call it a “work” of fiction.

You wouldn’t think it is difficult. Sit down and type for a few days until a novel is there on the page.

Slap on a cover and off to the printer.

It really doesn’t work that way.

My first draft of “The Inheritance” took nearly three years off and on again, with concentrated effort during the last six months before publishing. I refined the story multiple times, taking out precious words that I loved but did not help tell the tale.

Then I edited.

Reading it aloud, marking up the pages, entering those revisions, then reading it aloud again. I reviewed the entire manuscript more times than I can count using grammar tools like Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid.

Finally, I had come to the end of what I knew to do and sent it off to the editor. Who knew what might happen then? I hoped for the best and feared the worst.

Then the waiting.

This space of time while the novel is with the editor and there is NOTHING I can do on it. An author has to fill that time somehow.

For me, with my first novel, I planned to jump right into outlining the next one. But my brain would not cooperate. My brain demanded rest.

So I cleaned.

And organized.

And cleaned some more.

This part of the process was nerve-wracking. Would the story be any good? In the places where it is not good, would it be fixable? Yes, I know on some level that anything in a novel is fixable, but it felt like I had walked naked through the grocery store, letting friends and strangers alike look at and remark on my flaws.

I did make notes about ideas for future books. But I could not bring myself to do any more than that. Looking back I think my brain was trying to protect me from the possibility that this first story might not make it past the editor’s keen eye. If that was the case, what was the point in the effort required to write more?

So I occupied myself with cleaning and organizing, working out the nervous energy. My desk is spotless. Books are shelved by title and any library would be proud of how evenly their spines touch the edge of the shelf.

My sock drawer has been purged and every sock now has a matching material.

There is new flooring in the downstairs bath. Kitchen cabinets gleam with a fresh wash of Murphy’s Oil Soap.

My editor understood how difficult the waiting was, so she began texting updates. No details of course, but encouragement that the story was worth being told and inherently fixable.

Finally, with the manuscript back in my hands, it only took three weeks to address all of the editor’s recommendations and prepare to launch this novel into the world.

Reviews to date have been stunning. People from all walks of life are engaging with the story and ready to hear more from the world of Landow Creek.

I’m working on book two and have ideas for even more.