Endings, beginnings and the messy bit in the middle
I used to imagine that finishing a book meant typing the final full stop, leaning back in the chair with a sigh of satisfaction, walking to the post box with a large envelope and a spring in your step, pouring oneself a congratulatory drink then nipping out to buy something tasty to wear for the launch party. Hmmm, not quite. Well, not at all. Apart from the fact that email attachments have replaced the bulging package, you have to brace yourself for the six weeks or so of edits, proofs, tweaks, extra bits, panicky lost bits, page number shuffling, and general email-mayhem that follows the final full stop. So have I finally finished now? I can’t guarantee it, but all has been quiet on the inbox front this last week, so I rather hope so. The sooner it goes off to print, the sooner it comes back and I can hold a copy in my hand. I won’t actually look inside it of course – I’d be too scared of finding some howling error that I missed, for one thing. It does make me wonder how this lengthy but essential proofing and editing process was managed before electronic wizadry made frantic four way conversations between publisher, editor, typesetter and author possible. One thing stays the same over time, and that’s everyone’s desire to make a book as good as it can possibly be.
The end of one thing is always the beginning of something else, so I took a deep breath and looked at my list of ‘things to do after Go Green is finished’. It includes practical things like ‘tidy up studio’ amongst creative things like ‘new work for Christmas exhibitions’ (easier said than done – I think I’ve forgotten how to paint pictures!) and ‘design more cartoon cards’ (triggering instant sense of humour failure). Tidying the studio was a good start but I’ve messed it up again since, trying to dig out half finished ideas for paintings and working out what I’ve got frames for.
Another item on the list is deceptively simple – “Ideas for next book”. What, go through all that again? Well, it beats having a proper job. More news on that next time, once I’ve had a rummage in the creative cupboard and made sure there’s still something in there.
At least some things don’t change in the world of publishing – a glass of blogger’s ruin is going down nicely, thank you.