Or why I need to give myself a pat on the back once in a while.
For anyone who follows my Twitter feed you will have seen that this week I finally got around to opening Mslexia. For anyone who has read my previous blogs you will know that it plops through the door in its plastic wrapper but it may be several days perhaps up to a wek before I am strong enough to rip off the plastic and read it.
Amongst all the really inspring and useful, I find the pages and pages of authors struggling to make a small living, prepared to not even make any money to get published, very depressing. It makes me wonder what on earth I am doing and whether there is any hope at all.
So I usually spend a couple of days with a little black cloud of gloom following me around. But then feeling the little black cloud hovering just above my head, mocking me and my ridiculous dreams of being a successful writer, makes me even more sad. So I wanted to try and find something that would banish it and there’s nothing like a bit of self congratulation to perk up your day especially as it is not a practise I usually indulge in.
I’ve written a book for heaven’s sake. It might not be published yet but I have actually written one as my friends often remind me, open mouthed in awe. Just the thought of putting 77500 words on a page in an order that makes a compelling and exciting story is enough for them to be impressed. And I should be. Despite the many people who grace the pages of Mslexia, have blogs and Twitter accounts, who have also written unpublished books, there are many hundreds more, I am sure, who would like to write one but just haven’t got round to it yet.
And Thicker Than Water is not the first one I have written. I have also written a children’s book, Araminta Winter – Superhero. Also unpublished because I became at first disheartened and then distracted by Thicker Than Water like a labrador spotting a squirrel. I re-read it at the weekend. It’s good.
I also gave up my job without another one to go to yet am back at work in another great job. That’s got to be something to be proud of surely? It was a bold move and it didn’t leave my daughters and I homeless.
And my third novel is close to being ready to write. I have pondered over it, written pages and pages of notes, considered my characters and my structure and worked out what needs to go where to make the plot zip along. Whether I will be able to afford another four months off work to actually write it becomes another question altogether. The important thing it has shape.
I also have a website and a blog. I post to my blog once a week. I didn’t have one of these at the beginning of the year. Isn’t that an achievement? I don’t have a vast number of views at the moment but I have only been doing it a couple of months.
So I have some modest achievements. They only feel insignificant because I want so much more. I spent two hours this afternoon in a training session on setting objectives – this is why I want to write for a living. I want to be on the train and see people reading my book, I want to watch shoppers thumb through a pile of them on a table in Waterstones, I want to be invited to speak at festivals and writing events about my book, I want cheques to sail through my door which will pay my mortgage.
I have no idea whether I have any hope at all of achieving even part of those ambitions. But with two books written, a third on the way, a blog and a website at least I am further to getting there than I was in January. Black cloud be gone.