Thursday, 20 March 2014

Good days, and bad... the ups and downs of a writer's life...

As writers, and I'm sure most authors out there would agree with me, we have good days, and we have bad days. For me, yesterday was one of those bad days. It was one of those days where you feel like it's all for nothing, you're not good enough, your writing's crap... you get my drift. How am I feeling today? Better. Because all those feelings were, to all intents and purposes, irrational. I am good enough, it isn't all for nothing (although, that's still the one feeling that refuses to go away quickly, but I never did expect to become the next Jackie Collins overnight...), and if my writing wasn't good enough why did a publisher - the one publisher I really wanted to take notice of my writing - want me to sign a 3 book deal? But days like yesterday do happen. And I think my bad day happened because the past few weeks have just all caught up with me. No other reason. It's a bit like coming back from a really great holiday and suddenly realising that real life has just hit you in the face but you're not completely ready to cope with it just yet. Does that make sense?

For the past month or so I've been completely engrossed in making sure my latest (self-published) novel Unbreakable was ready to release. I've spent days re-reading, editing, re-reading again, editing some more, and so on. That's all I've been doing for weeks. So my mind has been on nothing but those characters, that story; I've been listening to the same music soundtrack constantly, making sure my head was in the right place in order to make this book the best it could be. I have lived that story over and over in my head so many times I could act it backwards! I have gone through everything those characters have gone through probably a hundred times over, which is why it's felt really strange this week to let them go. 

Which brings me onto something else that I, as an author - not sure this applies to all authors, though - experiences. Loss. Of characters, that is. And what the hell do I mean by that? Well, I'm one of those writers who can lose myself completely in the story I'm writing. For the time I'm working on a particular book I eat, sleep, breathe, live, almost, the characters' lives and what they're going through. They become such a huge part of me that it really does leave a ridiculously empty feeling once I finally put that book out there. It's almost like saying goodbye to someone you really don't want to leave. And I think that's contributed partly to the weird few days I've been having this week. Have you got no life outside of your writing, I hear you ask? Well, to be honest, at the moment, no, not really. Money's tight so there are no holidays to look forward to or short breaks to take my mind off things, and going out is a luxury we can only dream of right now. And as I'm someone who just can't switch off if I'm at home and therefore within reach of my desk, then my mind is totally on my writing. Totally. I can't really relax and forget about it, not even if I wanted to. And sometimes I do want to, believe me. But writing is such a huge part of my life. A huge part. And I never want that to change.

But, am I the only writer out there who becomes so involved with their stories and characters? Or am I just weird? There are probably some authors out there who just bang out the books and can quite easily leave one behind to move onto a new one, but it's never really been that easy for me. And because all that work on Unbreakable was done in such a condensed amount of time, everything was intensified slightly, which has made the come-down from working on and releasing that book even harder to get used to. I mean, let's face it, I hadn't even written that book four months ago! All of it, the whole idea for the book, it all came completely out of the blue but I just fell in love with the fictional small town I created, with the characters; with the story. And it just feels strange to have let them all go out there into that big wide book world. Even though I am working on a follow-up. So I will be spending time with those characters again. 

So, today doesn't feel as bad as yesterday did. Today I feel more confident, more driven; ready to get back to work on the final installment of the Striker trilogy. Today could very well turn out to be one of those good days. And tomorrow, well, that might even be a great day. But, as a writer, I know the bad days will hit again. But I also know those days don't last. They're all part of this writing journey I'm on, and, quite honestly, there's no other journey I'd rather be on right now. Unless it was a journey to the set of Justified to spend a day with that hot, kick-ass lawman Raylan Givens... he is, after all, the inspiration behind my own hot, kick-ass lawman Sheriff Ethan Everett in Unbreakable... And speaking of Unbreakable, keep an eye out here tomorrow because I'll be doing my very own Fantasy Cast Friday for my brand new, rather sexy romance... Yep. Sheriff Everett may be a lawman, but he doesn't always use those handcuffs for the purposes for which they're (officially) provided...

Justified's Raylan Givens - the inspiration behind my own kick-ass lawman, Sheriff Ethan Everett in 'Unbreakable'.

If you'd like to check out the first two chapters of Unbreakable - try before you buy, if you like - you can do so HERE. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any real "hot" scenes until at least chapter 4...

And Unbreakable is available to download HERE from Amazon.

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