I feel like I have just come to the end of a long, long marathon. It began in the months leading up to August 2010 and has finished over a year and a half later, with three books published, two short stories in anthologies and any number of Interesting Life Experiences served up on the side. It does feel like a much longer period. It has been eminently rewarding, exhausting, and useful.
Rewarding, first of all, because I’ve fulfilled a dream. With patient hard work and help from many other patient, hardworking people, I’ve become a published author, something I hoped to achieve for a long time. Rewarding not in small part because of the positive feedback received from different readers who love the works for different reasons, and want to see more and better from me. (You shall.) Rewarding, because I was finally able to hold out a book to my daughter and say, “Mum wrote this while you were taking your nap in your stroller, and continued writing it day after day for that hour and a half until it was done.” Rewarding because against all odds, despite Life Experiences and with much help, it WAS done.
The past year and a half has also been exhausting, because with every success comes attendant responsabilities. When one book is painstakingly produced during baby naps and bought, huzzah! two more must be produced subsequently, in haste, like rabbits from a hat; and that’s wonderful, but also very intensive work, with certain ramifications for health and wellbeing. It has been exhausting, because each book when it comes out, hard on the heels of the previous one, must be promoted to the best of my abilities. No, I don’t mean signing for long lines of people in bookstores, which doesn’t happen for most of us mere mortals. I mean the nitty gritty of blog tours and interviews, the business of setting up a website, making a trailer, contacting author organisations, interacting with potential readers and, and, and… all that is not writing. (Exhausting doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, of course.)
Finally, this experience has been incredibly useful, because it has helped me sort out what sort of writer I am, what I can and can’t do, what I do and don’t like, and where in the name of all things fictional I’m going next. Believe me, that isn’t a given!
Do I want to go on writing, despite panicked pleading glances from my bank manager? – check.
Do I want to go on writing trilogies on short release schedules? – nope. (NB: some people can do this like sneezing. I can’t. I’ve learned to embrace my pathetic daily word count, because taking the time means I’m getting it right.)
Do I want to try new types of writing? – check.
Do I want to die of starvation while I do it? – nope.
You get the picture, life management stuff. Honestly, Oprah would be proud. But the main thing that has come home to me in this year and a half is how lucky I am. Friends and family have stuck by me in this journey; my husband, though he still asks me to produce three bestsellers by Monday, has stuck by me. (My bank manager would prefer I get a real job.) Who could ask for more?
I won’t be popping by the blog quite as regularly over the next month or so, though I won’t be entirely absent either. I’ve decided to go internet grey, rather than internet dark. I want to see how much more work I get done. I suspect, from the evidence of the past day or two already, it will be a fair amount.
Current wordcount: 34000. With a bit of luck, this ms could be fully drafted within three months. With less luck and more Life Experiences, it might take up to another five. I’m hoping no more than that.