Sometimes, I look fondly back on my early days as an author, when the whole job was simply writing books, and the wheels moved very slowly indeed.
The act of writing was slower because, in the days of typewriters, even a minor change such as choosing a different name for a character could be a long-winded redrafting task, searching through reams of paper armed with a tippex brush.
When the manuscript was finally finished and neatly packaged up, it made its leisurely way to the agent or publisher via the Royal Mail, and some weeks later, their response would eventually come back.
In those days, I was blissfully unaware of sales figures and marketing, publicity and self-promotion, and I certainly didn’t have anything at all to do with the publishing process.
In many ways, being an author twenty years ago was far less stressful, but there are lots of things I love about being an author now:
- Word processing has made every stage of writing much easier and quicker. It means I can make manuscripts that look brilliant and are a pleasure to work on from the earliest outline to the final draft.
- The internet means I can have frequent contact with readers who follow my blogs or read my books. Their feedback and ideas are both encouraging and inspiring to me.
- Self-publishing means I don’t have to have unsold manuscripts languishing on my shelves, out of print books consigned to obscurity or projects I want to work on having to be abandoned because they’re unlikely to find a mainstream publisher.
The only problem is that, while I positively enjoy all the opportunities this new way of being an author presents, there’s an awful lot on my to-do list, and if I have to take unexpected time out because of illness, as has happened recently, things can quickly get out of hand.
On my to-do list right now, I’ve got:
- redraft my YA novel Drift from editor’s suggestions
- ditto my next adult non-fiction When a Writer Isn’t Writing
- write design and cover brief for Drift and When a Writer for designer
- redraft my iPhone and iPad app Get Writing! following testers’ suggestions
- plan my workshop for the home educated group
- write my commissioned article for The Author
- pitch further mag articles in time for the September launches of Drift and When a Writer
- write blog articles for writinginthehouseofdreams and girlsheartbooks
- write my guest blog article for Val Andrews’ Art For Happiness blog
- write the new children’s fantasy novel that I’ve had in outline since New Year
All those years ago when I started out, and everything seemed so slow, I had a postit on my study wall to remind me, ‘Impatience is a form of resistance.’
When writing my new book can’t seem to get off the bottom of the list, I still have to remind myself of that today.