So, you’ve got your first publishing deal. You’ve achieved your lifelong dream. From this day forth, you are an author – a real breathing bubbling bubble of brilliance author. You will write another book and another after that and another after that. You have so many ideas, you can’t wait to get back on that writing wagon.
After allowing the excitement of that first deal to subside a little – just enough to stop the squealing and jaunty dancing, you start up the laptop, take a deep breath, flex your fingers and … nothing.
You stare at the blank screen, you gaze in confusion at the keys – the letters now a strange Theban alphabet. The panic starts to rise. It snakes its way up from your stomach, slithers slowly and coils comfortably in your brain. You are useless. You are not a writer. Who were you trying to kid? You will never write another story, ever again.
For much of 2015, this is how I felt. I’d get up at 5am, start up the laptop and then the above. It got so bad that after a few weeks, I was too terrified to turn the laptop on. I couldn’t face the sense of failure any more.
Weeks passed in this void – an empty shell of nothingness. Waiting. Waiting for something, anything to lift this crippling curse.
It came rather unexpectedly one morning. A whisper as I scrubbed the bathroom … ‘Go back to the beginning.’
‘What?’ I shouted at the toilet brush. ‘What do you mean?’
The beginning. Where I took my first tentative step into writing. A short story.
And so it began. I sat at the laptop and was relieved to see that I recognised the letters on the keyboard. My fingers hovered. I took a deep breath … then I wrote.
Over the following few weeks I wrote two short stories (which were both shortlisted in writing competitions) and a piece of flash fiction, which I’d never tried before and which was longlisted in the Flash 500 competition. It was the fuel I needed – I can write. I can write words that form sentences, sentences that form paragraphs, paragraphs that fill pages, pages that create a story.
The snake uncoiled and I began my second book. At the end of November I had the elation of typing ‘ends’. Whether this book will ever reach publication is another story, but what mattered is that I had written another book.
Hop forwards to 2016 – my book is being published in September. This is really happening. It says so on my publisher’s website. I haven’t dreamt it (cue squealing and jaunty dancing to welcome in the new year).
After allowing this excitement to subside a little and brimming with excited optimism for this wonderful, magical year ahead, I started up the laptop ready to dive into the sequel to my debut book. I took a deep breath, flexed my fingers and … nothing.
I have written words that form sentences, sentences that have formed paragraphs, paragraphs that have filled a page. I have written a blog piece. Slowly, I can feel the snake begin to uncoil …
Hwyl am y tro x