When I signed my first publishing deal with Firefly Press earlier this year, I spent weeks floating around grinning inanely at everything and everyone. I’d wake up in the mornings and the thrilling rush would flood through me like a tidal wave of sunshine-happiness. I’d leap out of bed issuing ‘good mornings’ like they might go out of fashion – ‘Good morning me, good morning bed, good morning floor … ‘
Once this neurotic response subsided a little, there came more of a gentle calm with the realisation that I really, truly had fulfilled my dream. This realisation would strike at any moment, causing me to stop statue-still with a rather silly faraway look on my face. It was a bit of a problem when it happened in the street and a busy shopper would ‘doof’ into my back and tut-tut at me, or at the doctor’s surgery when I completely missed my name being called which resulted in the GP having to come into the waiting room and practically haul me from the seat.
And just like the calm before any storm, there followed this gentle peacefulness, a period of horrendously crippling self-doubt … ‘Oh my god, what if I never write another book?’ ‘What if the publishers change their mind and throw me and my manuscript into the back of a dustbin lorry, doomed for the dump?’ ‘What if no one reads my book ever?’ ‘What if I run out of what if questions?’
Now it was during this period of ‘what ifs’ that my 8-year-old son came into the office one sunny afternoon.
‘What are you doing?’ he asked, looking at me peculiarly.
‘Wailing and sobbing,’ I replied, quite distressed that I clearly couldn’t even wail and sob correctly.
‘Why are you wailing and sobbing?’ he asked.
‘Because … because … I’ll never be a children’s author,’ I replied flinging myself across the chair dramatically to ensure that my distress was clearly visible and was unmistakably real.
‘Um … yes you will because you write books,’ he said, crouching down to peer up at my faced-down face.
‘But I’ve only written one book,’ I said, wanting to add ‘woe is me’ but thought that might be taking it a bit far.
‘Write another one then,’ he said.
I froze in my hanging off the chair state. I straightened up.
‘What did you just say?’ I asked.
‘I said, write another book then,’ he said slowly, starting to back out of the door as he spotted the manic glint in my eyes.
Because there it was, the proverbial pot of rainbow gold. I leapt off the chair and launched myself at my son, enveloping him in a suffocating hug and smothering him with kisses (really not the thing to do to your ‘cool’ 8-year-old son, but hey, it was so called for at that precise moment in time).
Having wriggled free and gulped in air to re-fill his lungs, he ran off to play football in the garden, leaving me gazing out of the window, quite in awe of my surroundings and my son’s geniusness. Write another book. Amazingly, gloriously, fantastically wise words. Write another book.
So, having taken my son’s wisdom on board, I wrote another book. To be writing again was so liberating. I wanted to shout out loud, ‘Look! Look at me! I’m being a writer. I’m writing.’
Book finished, critiqued and polished, it was sent off. It is, at present, nestled in the laptop of another publisher, awaiting sentencing. To be published or not to be published? And me? Oh, you’ve nothing to worry about there. I’m almost finished with another story which I’ll then leave to rest before I get going with the sequel to my debut book, which I can’t wait for. And when that’s done, I’ll write another story. There’s one already brewing in the pot.
So does this mean I no longer behave like one of Jane Austin’s heroines around the house? Good grief no. There’s a lot to be said for dramatic bouts of arm-flailing, wailing and self-pitying sobbing. It’s rather therapeutic … helps get things into perspective I feel.
Hwyl am y tro x