Sunday, 31 December 2017

My Year as a Writer

Wow, has it been a year already? Where did it go? Wait, I want a do-over! I wasn't ready.

When I cast my mind back to 2016, I see it as a year of illness. I was sick with colds for over half the year. These all culminated in a charming illness named Labyrinthitis. And as exciting as that sounds, it did not involve David Bowie or any singing fantasy creatures at all. No, it's a nasty inner ear infection type of a thing, which leaves you immobile. Every time you try to move you are met with a tidal wave of dizziness and ensuing nausea.

But I thank that illness. October 2016 was the start of it. I was off work for 8 weeks. And at the end of that time the dizziness was subsiding, but I couldn't face returning to work. The thought of it made a stone plummet inside me, seemingly wrapped up with a ribbon, given the tied knot feeling which accompanied it. I felt sick.

So, with some savings behind me, I quit. Just like that. I phoned up my boss and, with terror gripping my heart, I told him I wouldn't be returning. I was quivering like a bowlful of jelly (see; seasonal reference there). What was I doing? Were those words really coming out of my mouth? 
I did consult hubby first by the way. Just to clarify.

But as I got off the phone and the shock wore off I felt a great weight drop from my shoulders. My spirit soared. I was free!!! 

It took me another few months to truly begin to feel like myself, and even now I tire easily. My energy had been completely sapped. 

I had already begun to write Love Bites the year before, but it was agonisingly slow progress. Most writers will tell you how they have to hold down a full time job, household duties etc. and fit in their writing as and when they could. And that was me.

I had been stuck at my joyless desk at work, fantasising about unlimited free time to write. Stories were always forming in my mind. "If only I had the time to sit down and write them," I would inwardly cry. 
This did not help the soul sucking job seem any less so. Not at all. 

I had been working full time for about 20 years. And despite many redundancies, I'd had very little time away from an office. I'd been employed most of that period, working full time jobs which offered monetary compensation only. Nothing made me feel happy, work wise. Not until writing came along. It just feels right. I can't imagine not writing now.

This year was a golden opportunity. In 2017 I was going to release my book, and as I had time to dedicate to marketing, I was sure I'd have a success on my hands. 

Well, I wrote Love Bites. It went to a beta reader, who quite rightly pointed out it should become a duology. So I wrote book 2, which involved reconfiguring some of book 1 as I went along. It was really hard. I don't recommend this approach. 
It also meant twice the editing :-/ 

Having gone through more editing, proof readers, and another beta read, the duology wasn't ready for release until August. 

I threw everything I had at its launch. This was my big chance. Adverts, social media, launch party, business cards; everything at my disposal was loaded on my success waggon. 
I think I took a wrong turn; it was met with a somewhat quiet reception. 

What had gone wrong? 
Well, nothing was wrong. It just wasn't my time. 

But what was this year for if this wasn't my big break?
Well, I had plenty of time for rest and recuperation. 
My days had been spent with me waking up naturally, and sitting down to write/edit as and when I could. No pressure. 

But here's the thing, without the pressure, there was no backlog. The urgency fell out of my writing. It became a gentle plod. The furious scribbling never happened. Well, not until NaNoWriMo at least. 

Yes, my first ever NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words written in the month of November. But as December became manic, I've barely touched it again since. I began a whole new novel, this time focusing on loving oneself. I'm hoping to pick that up in January.

But I should also start searching for a new job. I don't like not paying the tax man. Words I thought I'd never say! But I don't feel like I'm contributing to society. It feels wrong. 

My Christmas miracle doesn't seem to have happened. I've not had an enormous flurry of sales. So, if I want to be able to continue eating next year, I suppose I ought to go job hunting. 

I've really enjoyed this year. It's been relatively stress free. It's been an absolute privilege being able to write. I've not been lazy. I've actually worked really hard. But I had more time to worry too. I've worried The Darkness and Light Duology into release. So much fussing! But I think it was worth it. 

And I've worked on myself. More healthy eating, exercise, and really taking a long hard look at how my life is and what I want it to be. 

I'm still waiting to hear back from Waterstones. Who knows, perhaps they'll decide to stock my book soon? That would be amazing.

2016 - my year of illness
2017 - my year of wellness (or recovery, at least)
2018 - my year of success? I hope so.

Where will your 2018 take you? What are your hopes and dreams?

Always in love & light,

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Review - Up in the Air - Things Get Hot in the Snow!

Date read: 30th December 2017

My rating: 4.5*

Genre I reckon: Romance, winter sports, hot hot hot!

Buy link: Amazon

Well, it can sure get hot in the snow! Phew!!

This book is genuinely riveting. Plenty of action and drama.
The characters are well developed, and have the right amount of angst to contend with.

It's set on a snowy mountain where snowboarders roam.
Channing is a female snowboarder who's more like one of the guys, thanks to the influence of her twin brother and his mates.

There's a great deal of personal growth in this tale. Inner battles as much as the battle for gold on the slopes.

There's a few snowboarding moves and terms, but don't be frightened; they're all explained really well.

Oh, and a really sexy guy, of course.
The build-up of tension is excruciating. And hot!

A definite recommend to a friend.

Shoop shoop!