This is a very interesting time for my writing career.
On one hand, it could be about to take a massive step forwards. My agent might come back and say we’re ready to take to market. Alternatively they might say there’s still some work to do. And going forward, even if we take the book to market, will it sell?
These are nervous times for a writer and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve been searching through old blog posts of successful authors trying to find out how they felt at similar points in their career.
I was telling this to a friend recently, explaining how it’s really difficult to find this sort of information. Most writers at this stage, living in fear of their dream crashing around them, seem to censor this information. I accept that they might not be able to talk about business negotiations but there’s almost a fear if we have big ambitions our egos will be brought crashing down around us. We’re worried of showing vulnerability in case it somehow jeopardises a potential deal. We also don’t like to talk about what we are working on… because something bad might happen (I’ve never been sure exactly what). We writers are a neurotic bunch.
Last year was a really tough year for me mentally, but I’m honestly glad I had it. I started the year feeling a bit of a fraud, still unbelieving of my incredible luck* and feeling a bit of an imposter. Over the course of the year, I levelled up my thinking, raised my ambitions, and most scary of all, admitted them to friends. I enter 2017 refusing to let this journey scare me. If the book fails to sell, I go back to work and write another book. If it goes well I’m going to enjoy the journey for all it’s ups and downs. In 2017, I’m pumped for the journey ahead.
The absolute truth is that I am where I am because of a ton of hard work. My friends are the type of friends who will rip on you and I’m honestly grateful for it. It reminds me that in all this craziness, I’m still me. But I’ve had two of them each tell me privately that they’ve seen me over the last 10+ years state my ambition and then work feverishly towards it. I work hard – I work fucking hard – and whilst that’s not going to get me any badges or platitudes, friends have said they’ve seen how I take a long term view and just pick myself up after every defeat and carry on. When these people tell you how proud they are of you, how you inspire them, you know it doesn’t come lightly.
Perhaps in 2017 I am swinging the other way. Maybe I have just a little too much ego?. Not enough to go full Dunning-Krueger, but perhaps my ambitions are a little too ambitious, naive to the pitfalls that lay ahead. But do I sell those ambitions short or do I recognise I’m not taking any of this for granted. I’m truly grateful and do not underestimate the work ahead. I’ve looked at loads of other successful authors at this stage in their careers and have been unable to come up with answers.
“Then, you should document all this,” I was told.
And so I thought about it.
I know I can’t be the only person who’s interested in how people get published, what the day-to-day life of a writer is. We are sometimes guilty of giving stock cliché answers that a writer should write every day, that they should write, submit and start again. And whilst a lot of that is true (at a 30,000ft view), I don’t think I know one person in publishing whose personal journey doesn’t start with the phrase, “Well, my route into publishing wasn’t typical”. No two writers are the same. No two journeys are the same either.
For some time I’ve thought it would be fun to keep a journal, if only so I could look back at this time and say “Adrian, you were so full of shit.”
So that’s what I’m going to do. My plan is for it to focus on my writing, the business of publishing and my state of mind on that day. Of course, I’m not going to reveal any spoilers of books I’m working on, but I think I can talk about them in a way that will mean you’ll be able to look back and work out which chapter I was talking originally talking about. Think of it as the Behind-the-scenes commentary without the actual movie yet.
It’ll also be honest as well. If I’m struggling, I’ll say. If I’m having a day where I feel like the greatest writer alive, I’m going to say it without any guilt. I’m not going to be afraid to admit my failures.
I know I’d be a sucker for this type of stuff, and I think a lot of you will find it interesting as well.
I’m going to call it The Climb in reference to my post last month.
I’m going to try it for a week or two, see how it goes and what the response is like. I’m pretty sure the format will change based on your feedback so be sure to let me know in the comments of each post . Likewise if you have any questions about writing or publishing (Note: I do not know all the answers, I’m learning as I go), ask them in the comments and I’ll do a Q&A Post.