The journey over, the writing has started, and I have churned out almost 14,000 words in 10 days. It has been a long, time-hungry process. Constantly, as I read and re-read my words, I ask the same questions. Is it any good? Will anyone want to read this? Will anyone actually pay good money for this? It can be a demoralising process. To avoid further demoralisation, I avoid non-fiction like the plague, particularly anything Britain-related. Exposing myself to such things fosters self-doubt. My book will never be as good as this, that sort of thing. They are silly thoughts, but why court them in the first place? Hence I’m reading Shakespeare, literature as far removed from mine as possible.
Length is another concern (it always is with men). My running total of 14,000 words seems a lot – but it’s barely a fifth of the entire book. A figure of say 70-80,000 words is incredibly daunting. And then there is the start and the end, always the trickiest parts. What may have seemed like a grand idea on Coll, Colonsay or Harris does not seem so clever in the harsh, black and white reality of a Word document.
Some writers will craft a sentence or paragraph for an inordinate length of time, seeking perfection. I prefer to throw all my thoughts down as quickly as possible, then literally start again: tidying up, cutting, adding, altering, basically re-writing the lot. I’m not at that stage yet. For now, I keep on, setting myself word limits each day, treasuring those moments when I read something I’ve written and think, I like that, I think other people will too.