Monday, 21 March 2011

Happy Days

Happy Monday.

Yeah, I know, the start of the week is not usually a cause for celebration;

no-one ever popped the cork on a bottle of bubbles on Sunday night, glad that the weekend is over, declaring an urgent desire to set the old alarm clock.

But this is an exception. Because I AM looking forward to getting started.

Last week, has been an odd one for me. I've been out of sorts.
Usually, I'm a horrible Pollyanna, getting on everyone's nerves by looking on the bright side. Comic Relief is normally a gift. How many times can one woman tell their children how lucky they are???

Not this time.

This week I have made Hamlet look cheery.

The cause? In six weeks I have a new book coming out.

There, I've said it.
I know for all of you out there seeking publication, this seems like possibly the worst case of lack of gratitude, but hear me out.

For most of the time, we writers live in some strange half world of reality and fantasy. We spend our days making stuff up and writing it down. It's not, by any standards, normal.
While we create our little worlds, we are the master, the creator, the architect. Sure, some say that their characters 'take over', but even that happens in a controlled setting of OUR making.

I don't know about you, but I find the process magical. Also, as this is my fourth book to be published, I find my confidence at building structure and theme and characters grows. My voice soars.

And though I won't say I enjoy the editing stage, I now deal with it more quickly and less painfully (for me anyway - can't speak for my ed).

But having a book coming out doesn't get any easier. Which is pathetic considering this is a well laundered tee shirt I'm pulling on. I should be able to simply smile and enjoy it.
The trouble is suffer from what is called 'imposter syndrome' ie that I live in fear of being found out.

After six years and four books (five in November), I'm still not convinced I'm very good at this lark.

This might have been acceptable when book one came out. I mean, I wrote it on a whim, having had no training other then reading as a hobby. Publication came in a whirlwind, and I fully expected it to bomb, with wagging fingers staing the bleedin' obvious. I. Was. Not. A. Writer.

But now? Why on earth do I still feel this way? Surely I've proved myself, if not to the wider world, then at least to myself?

It seems not. I've spent this week in a state of high anxiety, anticipating the books hitting the shelves and this time being found out. I haven't been able to write or do much else for worrying.

So this morning I declare this daftness at an end.

This week I will finish the book due out in November. I will go on three ten mile walks, having signed up to a sponsored twenty mile walk in May. I will meet a good mate who works for the UN and get ridiculously pissed before she heads off to Libya. I refuse to think about book four. Indeed I will not speak its name.

So here's to a great week ahead and a Happy Monday to you all.

9 comments:

Caroline Green said...

I wanted to burst into applause reading this, Helen! I really, really hear you on that imposter thing though and am having similar agonies about my own launch.
Here's to a very happy Monday indeed and a wildly successful fourth book.

Geraldine Ryan said...

Happy Monday, Helen and many happy returns!

Bernadette said...

I once went on a business course (not writing) where people were asked to put their hands up if they ever felt like that - about 90% did. I never stopped feeling it, even when I reached director level of a company I worked for (probably especially then, in fact).

So good on you for accepting it and putting it behind you. And good luck with the new book!

Helen Black said...

Do we think this is a very female thing to feel.

Not in the sense that no men feel this way, but that they are more likley to have confidence in their abilities?
HBx

Rosy Thornton said...

Oh, what a wonderful post, Helen! It chimed so much with me.

"I mean, I wrote it on a whim, having had no training other then reading as a hobby..."

That's me, too. And the "I. Am. Not. A. Writer" bit.

So, a very happy Monday to you, as well, Helen - and thank you for making me smile.

Debs Riccio said...

Oh for anxieties like this, Helen - bring it on!

Kath said...

Oh, yes, I so get this imposter thing. And it's not just writers, is it? I felt exactly the same as a school teacher, although colleagues, kids and parents all gave me great feedback, in fifteen years I never managed to shake the deep seated conviction that deep down I was winging it and would one day come crashing into public view!

Derek said...

Wundebar! Congratulations. I can't comment on whether it's a female thing, but I promise to describe my funky dance on the day I get one of my novels contracted / published.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

You. Are. A. Writer.
Con. Grat.U. Lations.!
Susiex