On 23rd January 2018, I was sat in a Caffé Nero attached to the Blackwell’s book shop on campus, and I finally wrote the final words of the book I’d been working on since October 2014.
Between those two dates, I’d completed both years of my A Levels, moved to uni 200 miles away from home, gone through about five different hairstyles, and completed the first half of my degree – it’s safe to say it’s felt like a very long time coming.
I wasn’t really sure how to feel about it; the story isn’t over, because I want it to be a trilogy. But it was undeniably weird to think I’d actually finished writing a book. I’d done the thing I’d wanted to do since I was about four years old.
I did a typical millennial thing when I finished: WhatsApped a friend about fifteen times until she replied, and took a shot of it for my 1 Second Everyday. Sat there for a few minutes with not much thought in my head besides a continual “whaaaaat”. Compiled the file and saved it on about four different platforms – I’m not taking any chances, especially with a laptop that’s died on me three times in the last few months. (Please hold on a little longer!)
Since then, though, I’ve read it through. Finished tweaking it. Sorted out one particular scene which had been bugging me for far too long…
… And started sending it off to agents.
Okay, I’ve only sent it off to one agency so far – I happened to finish writing the book the day after my final semester one exam and six days before semester two began, so once the semester picked up again it was a lot harder to find time to research agents and send things. A lot of literary agencies want different things in your cover letters, and different parts of your manuscript – 10 pages, 3 chapters, 10,000 words… If it wasn’t for my first deadline of the semester being just two weeks in, and the next only two weeks after that, I would have sent it off to more at the same time.
I’m going to try sending it off to more agents in the next few weeks. I haven’t got another university deadline for six weeks, accounting for the next three weeks of term and three weeks of Easter break.
It’s surprisingly intimidating, thinking about somebody else reading, or even talking, about a book you’ve written. It’s been something I’ve kept (very) private for a long time. Private to the extent that my friends and family don’t actually know what it’s about. I felt like I needed the privacy to write the book that was mine, not mine-with-other-people’s-interference. I had a very clear idea of the nature of the world I was building, and I wanted the space to put it into words on my own.
Now, though, I have to relinquish that privacy, and that’s somewhat terrifying. Exciting. But scary.
I’m expecting rejections. I’m very aware that that’s just part and parcel of the creative industries – you’re going to get a lot of nos and, if you’re lucky, a few yeses. So here’s to the determination to keep on trying.