17 July 2015

13 July 2015

When Perspective Changes

Recently, I was thinking about my writing journey and all its ups and downs. I felt a twinge of frustration that at times, it has seemed like such a battle.  I am grateful on a daily basis to have such a wonderful life, with a loving husband and amazing children. However, that doesn't always make it easy to be an author. Time is precious, and in short supply. Marriage and motherhood will always come first, which is how it should be. I have no regrets when it comes to that. 

When I first began publishing books, I never imagined I would be where I am today. I never dreamed I would have such a large and supportive reader-base. I wasn't even sure if my books would be well received enough to continue long term with this passion of mine. I severely under estimated myself. Despite many obstacles and forks in the road, I continued to climb higher. Every milestone I hit is a deeply appreciated, and much celebrated success.

In essence, I realized I was looking at it all from the wrong perspective. I celebrated each stepping stone on my journey, but failed to see the bigger picture. That twinge of frustration I'd been feeling lately, struggling to make time for my writing, was most unjustified. Here's why.

It took me FOUR years to write my first book. Some of that could be attributed to my lack of self confidence at the time, and the fact I was still having babies at that point. Some of it could also be due to my inexperience - I'd never done this before! The second book took only six months to write. Then after some publishing and royalty nightmares, I had to re-release the first book on my own, as an independent author. (Another huge learning curve - no small accomplishment for a new author from tiny New Zealand). So while I concentrated on re-doing book one - The Mercenary, book two - The Fury, got put on hold. 

My editor and I worked on those two books back to back, and at the same time I was trying to write the beginning of book three. Some days I thought I would surely go mad. Three different books (in the same world) in three different stages of the publishing process.

Looking back, I don't know how I did it. In addition to the writing challenges, I also moved house. Not just across town, but to a new region, where the kids would have a new school, and a new start. It's a rural area, which brought on another whole series of learning experiences for us as a family. In addition to this, my husband's job schedule suddenly became overloaded and he started working around the clock just to tread water. Something inside me broke, and it all became too much.

Shortly after re-releasing The Mercenary, and publishing The Fury, I was forced to take an involuntary break from my writing. I didn't announce this to my readers because I was scared. I didn't know how long this would last, and trying to adjust to all the changes in my life was a priority. The kids needed me more than ever, and I needed to be Super Woman for a while, until my husband's schedule calmed down. For a while, due to the stress and a few other contributing factors, I lost my voices. Not just a few, but all of them. As a writer, I cannot convey how terrifying this is. It's like having part of your soul ripped out.

I didn't write a single word for more than four months. It was more than six before I managed to make any decent progress on book three. Somehow, even though I'd had all of those challenges to face, I still managed to publish book three, The Butcher, only ONE YEAR after publishing book two. This means that Even though I had to publish one book twice, and didn't write at all during a six month period, I still averaged a book per year. That's actually not too bad considering the first book took four years just to finish the first draft.

I promised myself that I would do better next time. I would initiate better time management. I would change my schedule around to achieve maximum results. The list went on. I thought I would have book four, The Bloodhound, completed by mid 2015, but I didn't count on the voices from my other projects returning to me with full force! Late in 2014, I suddenly felt the urge to pick up a project I'd abandoned during my six month dry spell. Not wanting to let my readers down, I tried to alternate between both book projects.

Now, my life hasn't slowed down. I'm no less busy than I was before. My children and their schooling are still very demanding of my time. My husband still needs my help to keep the household running smoothly when work gets a little crazy. But you know what? I'm writing TWO books at once. Stronger than Blood is almost complete, and my editor is already working on some of the early chapters in the book. The Bloodhound is almost halfway through its first draft. I might not get both books published by the end of 2015 but I won't be far off that. (Still hoping for a miracle, but trying to be realistic).

Basically what I'm trying to say is - the universe has bombarded me with so many things I couldn't have anticipated, and not only have I survived it all, I'm still writing. I'm writing TWO books this year. And that, my friends, is something to be proud of. 

Thank you to all who have shared this journey with me and continue to support my work. You are what makes this possible.