It is only eleven days since I announced that I had passed the 110,000 word mark. This morning, I made that 120,000. It is always like this when you write a novel. As you get near the end, you speed up. When toiling through the process to reach this point, output often falls to just a few hundred words a day. This is because I am planning, revising – or sometimes just blocked. Writers’ block is something that all authors get. It is because our brains are organic, living things and sometimes they get overloaded. It is normal and we just have to work through it until the logjam clears again, which it always does.

Now, most of the donkey work has been done, and all of the critical decisions have been made. The book isn’t finished yet. I still have the remains of a chapter and the epilogue to write, but the end is in sight.

Except that it won’t be the end. That will just be the first draft. The next stage is editing, and that is at least as important as creating the blessed thing in the first place. Editing a book properly cannot be done quickly. The process will take several weeks and part of that time will be beyond my control. That is when the manuscript is away at the proofreader’s (she is my wife’s cousin). While it is away, I will have another look at what I have written and, perhaps, draw up some initial plans for the next book. When it comes back, though, I must take note of her observations and amend the text, if necessary. Proofreading is an important job. It cannot be entrusted to just anybody, and the writer most definitely cannot be their own proofreader. That is because we are too close to our work and cannot judge it dispassionately. Consequently, your proofreader needs to be someone you can trust, and who isn’t afraid of hurting your feelings. In return, having given them your trust, you must be worthy of it, and not take offense even if they tear your work to shreds – and, yes, that has happened to me.

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