Monday 20 August 2018

13 Years Published - The Creative Process


When I think back to July 2005, the wait for my book to go live, for the paperbacks to come through my letterbox and me be able to officially say that I was a published author, it feels like a lifetime ago. The fact that it's been thirteen years almost seems unreal because so much has happened, but also it feels like so much longer. I was 23 when I was first published, I'd written, I think, up to Lynne & Hope. I think actually I was in the process of finishing that book when I finally got the contract. I knew that I was going to have to keep writing even after I got flooded with rejections because I just couldn't stop. I had too many stories to tell and, at the time, not even hours in the day to tell them.

I look at where I sit now, with twenty-two books finished, thirteen out on shelves and three due for release in 2019 and it blows me away. When I first got my contract my goal was ten books. I didn't think beyond that because to me, ten seemed like this huge number that I would never reach. And it took me a long time. I did not write to the level I do now. It would take me a good couple of years to finish a book, and even when I started writing two at the same time, it still took me that two years or sometimes more, to get the words out. It really has only been the last couple of years that my productive side has increased.

The date Blackout hit the shelves turned out to be a good one for me. August 10th 2005 was the start of my career. It was also the day in 2003 when I finally got the flat I lived in, and then again in 2009 that we moved into this house. It brings about good things for me and knowing that it has now been thirteen years since that date just blows my mind. I think of how proud I was finishing my tenth book, and then I remember just in December, that I wrote the last words of my twentieth book. Like how did this happen? I know how I got here, I know it took a whole heap of blood, sweat and tears and I am still just as grateful as I was back then.

When I started writing stories, I dreamed big. I still do, though of course there is a more realist side to me. I know that the chances of making it to J K Rowling status is small, but I have my fans, and my readers. I have my followers who will always pick up whatever I write. I have the people behind the scenes, my editor, my proof-reader, all my beta readers and CPs. I have my friends who have always been my biggest supporters, and I have my parents who have also mostly believed in me. But on top of that, I have the knowledge that I am doing what I was meant to do. While I may have, briefly, dreamed of an author life as a teen, it wasn't my end goal. Life brought me to this point and I know I worked hard to get here.

Yet looking back, I can't see how I could've gone another way. Yeah, maybe if I hadn't gotten sick I would've stuck to my original goal, but if I'm honest, I don't think it would've been my goal had I not been sick in the first place. For those who don't know, when I was a little kid I always wanted to be a doctor. It was part of being in and out of hospital with my lungs and wanting to give people what I felt was missing. Yes it wasn't, completely, my lungs that stopped me from working in a regular job, but I think even without knowing how things could've gone that writing was always going to be something I excelled at and enjoyed. It was my fall back plan, but yet soon became my default, the way I thought and looked at the world. My love of books never changed that and never could.

I like to do advice pieces on the blog, give my spin on things and see about helping other people who, like me, started with just the spark of an idea and found that the traditional route wasn't for them. But I also like to look back on what I've learned and how far I've come. So today, that's what I'm doing. It's been thirteen years and yet I know the next twelve months will be gone in the blink of an eye, so I'm going to make them count. Roll on fourteen and the next and the next. I've got stories to tell and I ain't stopping for no one!

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