To even be writing this blog feels like a dream! When I first got the email back in November from my agent saying Thomas & Mercer were offering a two-book-deal, I was at a friend’s 50th birthday. The email pinged through and I screamed the yacht club down. People on every table stared as I jumped up and down, holding my phone, shouting, “I’ve got the offer, I’ve got the offer!”. My friends crowded around, my friend, Louise, handed me a glass of champagne, while my other friend, Kinga, took a picture of me and it was the most incredible moment of my life. I’m serious when I say that. I have never been so happy in my life. The fact that my closest friends were there to witness it, was like the universe had planned that moment. (I felt a bit bad taking over Kelly’s 50th) but she was over-the-moon because they all knew how hard and how long I’d worked for this.
After that, I had a great conversation with my publisher, Victoria, and we just immediately clicked.
And that’s when I knew it was really, truly happening. And then it suddenly felt very surreal.
This isn’t something I’ve stumbled on a few years ago and thought, oh, I know, I think I’ll be an author now. No, this is a real childhood dream I’ve wanted since I was eight! When I realised authors got paid to write books, I figured that’s what I was going to do. It was an innate thing. A passion I later studied and dreamt about. I worked bloody hard for this, even as a teenager, spending hours at night typing away on stories. I’ve written on old Macintosh computers, typewriters and by hand. This is real and natural and exactly what I should be doing. That’s why it means so much to me. And that’s why the terror struck.
To be an author, writing from home all week is what I set my sights on. And at first, it felt strange to sit and write the story, knowing real people, real readers (friends and family) would be later reading it. Even knowing that my publishers (who I’d long thought of as these powerful, unattainable, God-like people) would be reading it.
And I couldn’t write.
For about one month after the offer came through, I stared at the laptop and couldn’t write. There was an unreasonable fear knowing I’d got what I’d wanted, but what if I couldn’t do it well enough? People are going to be relying on it. People are going to judge it. People are going to judge me. People will wonder how my mind can be so vicious! LOL.
So what did I do? I went on a holiday to Rottnest Island, where my story’s set and I took pictures, videos, captured the smells, sounds of the island. And then I finally felt it coming back: the excitement, the urge, the craving to sit down and crawl back into the characters and their world. And once I started again, I couldn’t stop. Suddenly, the idea of people reading it didn’t bother me anymore. I just wrote like before. I kept writing. I wrote the story the way I as a reader would want to read it.
And now here I am, 55,000 words in and on a roll with every scene planned out, all the way to the end.
There’s no more fear, because this is who I am. This is where I’m meant to be.
Second-Book Syndrome, imposter syndrome, self-doubt and fear are emotions I hear authors discussing and experiencing all the time. And there are the other better emotions to: elation, gratitude, pure joy to be doing what you love to do! I hope this helps if you’re experiencing this and just know that you’re not the only one. I think fluctuating emotions is what makes us better at getting deep into our characters minds! Well, that’s something I like to tell myself anyway.