Empire of Dirt: The first draft is done

When I first signed up to this little adventure, I though I’d be looking at a finished first draft of Empire of Dirt sometime around December. I’m not entirely sure why, but I decided not to put so much expectation on my shoulders.

Then I got writing. I get asked how I manage to write so fast, and although I could give lots of technical reasons like having been practicing for years or being very disciplined, I think the truth is, I really enjoy doing it.

I went to a friend’s birthday party in the middle of writing, and met another author who works in non-fiction. When A said, “She’s a writer,” her fellow friend looked at me and said, “You must have the tidiest flat in the world.”

She described how she avoids writing by doing pretty much anything else, including cleaning her apartment. I sympathised; when I was doing my PhD I had the cleanest bathroom ever.

But right now, the flat is a mess. I’ve managed to do laundry because that largely does itself, but everything else tends to go to pot a bit when I’m writing. I get very wrapped up in it, and my reality shrinks to writing and doing things that help the writing happen, like going to the gym and running on the treadmill until my feet are blistered but I’ve got the next two chapters sorted in my head.

And that’s probably the main reason why I write quickly. I just love doing it. Of course, the first draft will need editing and I’m not happy with the last two chapters at all. Finishing off a book like that is awkward, as I want to keep it all tight, but as it’s a mixture of action that needs precise choreography, and a big reveal that has to be played right, it’s difficult to get that done well.

I’m taking the next couple of days off to think about it. I have party costumes to work on for Thanksgeeking and a friend’s wedding, and then it’s into editing time. Nice, though, to have the first draft there and done.

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