First Base . . .

July 7, 2021

. . . . At least so far as reaching the first word count target goes, and the goal I had to achieve before taking the draft to my mentor for her first proper review.

I feel fortunate in securing Robyn’s mentoring skills. As I know from others who’ve benefited from her editing criticism and advice she’ll pull no punches, but many of her writing class students over the years have gone on to find serious publishing success with their novels and memoirs. And all of them credit her mentorship in achieving that success. But for all kinds of reasons she chose to hang up her red editing pens a couple of years ago, and was therefore ambivalent about my request to consider steering me along my book-writing adventure. My initial approach was at a Schools4Climate rally we both attended. Robyn said she would think about it, but it was several months later, at a subsequent climate rally that she came across and said yes, she would do it. Phew.

It could be the subject matter that swung things in my favour – Robyn was among the thousands who campaigned against the pulp mill – but her agreement certainly galvanised me into more serious action. At that point, it has to be said, I’d not actually written a great deal but I duly took the few thousand words I had completed for her to read through. She made no comment but she still probably gave me the best advice I could have after reading them and learning how I envisaged the book developing. ‘Just get it down’ she said. ‘Don’t worry about how the stories fit together at this point, just write it down. And don’t come back to me until you have at least 15,000 words.’

Well, I’ve reached that magic number, so now it’s time to see what she thinks. By the end of next week I’ll feel either elated, enthused, and raring to write the next 20,000 words, or despondent at the thought of all the potential changes. Fingers crossed it will be the former.