March 1, 2013 2 Comments
After four years, three versions, two editions, one name change, multiple rewrites and much stress, my novel Fake Profile is about to launch. I am relieved and excited and just a wee bit scared. Terrified actually! Writing this novel has taken me on a roller coaster of a journey unlike anything I have experienced in my professional life.
I’ve felt the highs and lows with equal intensity. From the exhilaration of winning an Australian Society of Authors Mentorship Award for the raw manuscript in 2010, to the crushing disappointment of having a publishing contract offer withdrawn because I unwittingly uploaded an e-version and elected to retain the Digital Management Rights for the manuscript.
I’ve felt the warmth and enthusiasm of a supportive writing community and the harsh cold reality of a publishing industry fighting for its life in a changing world. A few times I stuffed the manuscript deep inside a folder hidden on my computer, vowing to throw in the towel , only to drag it back out and rewrite the whole thing again.
And through the whole process, I learnt much about myself—the most important of which is: I am a writer. I can’t ignore the fact. It doesn’t matter how disillusioned I become, or how harsh the critics are, I can’t not write. It’s as necessary to me as breathing. It’s difficult to explain how much a part of my being is dependent upon my writing. If I don’t write for any length of time, I feel the life force begin to drain. I become weaker and sadder and this influences every other aspect of my life. My teaching suffers, my friendships suffer, my connection to myself suffers, the way I view the world is affected.
I love being a writer. I thrive on the solitude it requires. I love the writing community. They get it. When I talk about the voices in my head, they know exactly what it means. My writing colleagues can follow my chaotic thought processes from manuscript to manuscript and character to character without blinking an eye.
I had barely finished Fake Profile before starting the next novel, Say Nothing. And the first draft of Say Nothing was complete before I began the long, slow and laborious road to publication for Fake Profile (and that itself, is a post for another day). Now I’m almost finished the first draft of my third, and while that is happening the first of a trilogy is incubating.
It’s been a very long time coming. I’ve been writing since I was very young, but it’s only been the last ten years or so (I have earlier manuscripts sitting in drawers that have never seen the light of day), that I began to take my writing seriously enough to recognise it is my lifeblood. I have no choice. I have to write. It is as simple as that.