Back to Basics

With the publication of book four scheduled at the beginning of May, and the draft of book five safely with my editor, I'm enjoying a brief haitus in deadlines.

Indeed, I'm trying to use my energy wisely and doing as much publicity as I can.

To this end, I agreed to write a short feature for a crime and thriller ezine called Shots. It's one of those sites that is hugely popular amongst its target audience, drawing a loyal following of voracious readers.

As you can imagine, I was highly chuffed to be asked to whip up an article about how I started writing and what keeps me going.

Chuffed for the publicity, of course, but also chuffed to be forced to turn my mind to such an important question.

Since my first book was published, I have written and published a book a year. This year I've written two. Now I'm not going to complain about that, would be mad to...but it doesn't leave too much time or room for reflection.

And I happen to think that reflection is an important thing in life.

I've never been one of those people who just goes with the flow and sees how things turn out. I'm a planner by nature. I write down my goals then break them down as to how best to achieve them. Then I regularly re-assess. Is this working? Is this what I want? If not, then how can I make changes for the better?

My writing career, however, has been a helter skelter ride. Everything has happened so fast and has been so full on, I have had no time to check things have been going how I wanted.

So this week, I've been writing my article but also asking myself those deep questions.

Why do I do this? Is it what I want to do?

Having coffee with a mate, she laughed at me and said, 'isn't this what everyone wants?'

Well, maybe, or at least in theory...but that's not enough is it? Living what everyone thinks is the dream aint the same thing as living it.

I mentioned it in passing to my uber practical husband, who rolled his eyes and pointed out that most of us in life have to earn a living. And yeah, I'm not so daft that I don't realise there are such things as mortgages to pay. Yet, I could make ends meet in any number of other ways...a lot of them a damned sight easier and better paid.

So why do I do it? Why do I write?

The answer of course is that I love it. Even when I feel more like a word factory than a creative, I still love it.

I want to tell my stories, I want to explore my ideas, I want to invent, I want to share...and there's just no better way of doing that than writing. Or not one that I can think of at this moment in my life.

So here's a toast to Shots, for letting me publicise Blood Rush, but more importantly for making me take stock and remembering that yes, I bloody well am living the dream.


DT said...

I'm reassured somehow to read that someone who has already got works out there is still questioning everything. By the way, was it a Glock?

Susie Nott-Bower said...

What a great attitude you have, Helen! So glad that your period of reflection is affirming your inner writer.

Caroline Green said...

Good for you Helen. You've worked so hard on all this without a break, you definitely deserve to feel proud of what you've achieved. Here's to great success with these books - and the enxt five!

MorningAJ said...

As someone who's always been paid to write (but write what other people want, not my own stories) I guess I am a word factory.

But even when I'm having to make a really boring technical topic sound interesting to non-technical readers I still love it.

I can't imagine earning my living any other way. So it's not my 'great novel' - I'm still a writer. It's who I am.

Glad you know it's what you want too.