On the manuscript.

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So I signed the contract. Now I’m going through my manuscript to send to Seren by the beginning of September – as outlined in the contract! Suddenly there’s a very real other party involved in my writing. A bit like my super-ego detached and tracking my movements to ensure I’m not prevaricating. (I am, by writing this, prevaricating. The Word document beneath this is my manuscript waiting patiently to be fiddled with).

I’ve got the deadlines and key dates in my mind all the time. They are holding me together, injecting just the right amount of anxiety to keep me at it. Keep me reading and re-reading. Thesaurus, OED and google at the ready to ward off all those big noses who know, and who are out to trip me up and laugh should I fall.

And I’ve been saying out loud, in real life, mostly to friends that I’m working on my manuscript. The glamour is wearing thin. A good thing. If I’m saying it I’m not doing it, so if I say it to you change the subject and perhaps I’ll get back to work.

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What have I learnt through the process? That I conceive as the poem as a whole entity, and am not primarily concerned with little inconsistencies. But these can ruin the effect for a reader. This editing is leading me to being a better writer, on these terms. But there are very much two writing me’s – the ideas factory and the proof-reader with heart. As the proof-reader is currently at the fore, I am finding it unusual to be struck by ideas for new poems. I’m presuming this will alter on the delicious morning when I complete my initial editing and arranging and can email it all off to Amy at Seren. This will be a few days before going back to school. I can foresee a Halcyon mood pervading these late summer days, when both my daughters will be at school, I’m at work ( school), the sun will be beginning to weaken – ever so slightly – and I can allow myself the luxury of pure invention in my writing.

 

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About grahamcliffordpoet

Graham is an award winning poet, based in London. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA in Creative Writing, and has since published nationally and internationally, winning many awards and performing at some of the most prestigious and well known Literary Festivals. His debut collection, The Hitting Game, is published by Seren.
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