Does it Feel Good?

Over coffee and cake the other day, my publicity agent (aka best friend Jane) asked me what it felt like to finally be a published writer. “Not a lot different,” I told her. “A bit like having a birthday really. First, there’s the initial excitement over the fuss being made about you, the congratulations and hugs and kisses, the sense of relief that you’ve reached another milestone in one piece, then that deflated feeling when everyone’s left and you realise inside, you are the same person, just a day older.” But afterwards, giving the question further thought, I realised I do feel different, and began to analyse why.

Every Step of the Way had been ten years in the making. From the initial seeds of an idea to eventually seeing it on Amazon and physically in someone’s hands. It took about a year to write, the first three chapters in about three weeks but then came a period of intensive research when I learned so much fascinating stuff about the era the book is set in – the 1950s – to the extent the research overtook any writing. But I was on a deadline, a perceived one, of my own making, until in September 2004, it was finished. Or so I thought. During the ensuing years, having gone through many false starts and hopes and squashed dreams, an award ceremony, agent, editor, proofreaders, the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme, being told there’s no market for sagas, turned down by publishers, and everything else betwixt and between, it needed many rewrites and more edits, to the extent I was so sick of the sight of my characters, I wanted to drown them all in the River Thames never to see daylight again.

So you can perhaps understand the feeling I had that, after all this time, I was glad to see the end of it. Any excitement I had hoped to feel now it was out in the big wide world hadn’t materialised. What I felt was liberation because at long last, I was free. The book had reached maturity, guided and fed, pruned and nurtured every step of the way (pun intended!). The strings were at last cut, time to either flounder or be a runaway success (hope, hope, hope). But in its wake it had left nothing but self doubt. Not over the novel itself but whether it could have been better written for I knew that, if I wrote the story now, I would write it another way. This is due to the fact that in the last ten years I, too have matured as a writer, learnt the many lessons needed to write a good book. I now know the various pitfalls and how the market works.

So, Jane, in answer to your question: It feels different – because I am different to the person who wrote it all those years ago. I feel proud – because all the mishaps and ups and downs experienced in the intervening years have helped to shape it into the creature it has grown into. I am also proud of myself in that I didn’t let the dream go, I didn’t kill it, I didn’t give up on it. I feel elated at the prospect of seeing more people hold my book in their hands and knowing many have already downloaded it onto their Ereaders. And more importantly, I feel excited by the prospect of going through the pains of doing it all over again with the next. Hopefully that one won’t take another ten years to appear.

In short.  It feels good!

Read extract from Every Step of the Way

Available on Kindle through ThornBerry Publishing via Amazon and as a paperback through FeedaRead and, Waterstones Barnes & Noble

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18 thoughts on “Does it Feel Good?

  1. Good for you, Kit! What an inspiring story. I’ve had times over the past few months where I’ve seriously questioned whether or not I’m doing the right thing, there have been that many stops and starts with my novel, but this little voice in my head keeps piping up : “So, what are you gonna do, let all that work go down the pan? Keep going, Jan” Reading your story has given me a real lift. Congratulations on the publication of Every Step of the Way. I’m thrilled for you and shall really look forward to reading it 🙂 x x

    • Hi Jan. I think ever author agonizes whether to give up or not or to scrap an entire book, but a true writer never gives up. I think that is why support groups and good writing groups are so important for support and encouragement. And if my story has inspired just one author to keep on going, I’ve have achieved something. Do hope you enjoy the book when you read it. Kit X

  2. Our writing develops just as our lives develop. Which of us wouldn’t wish to have some moments over again so we could do (or write) things differently because our outlook has changed as we’ve learned along the way? But I agree that once a book is published it’s a great milestone, and certainly it’s better than having it lie under the bed or stashed in the back of a dark closet. So congratulations on another milestone.

  3. It’s a beautiful story Kit, I enjoyed every single moment of it and didn’t want it to end. I do remember really bad fog in my early teens, it wasn’t as bad as the ‘smog’ but I can remember how frightening it was walking home from school once. You could not see your hand in front of your face! That would have been in the late 60’s, but when I read the opening scenes in Every Step Of The Way – my, did it bring that experience back! And it is so good to see you published!

    • Thank you, Linn. Fog can be so disorientating. Had to drive home once from Avonmouth up the M5 to Cribbs in a dreadful one back in the 80s. Vowed would never drive in fog again. I wasn’t about during the Killer Smog but well remember the later ones until the Clean Air Act and smokeless fuels came into use. Am so pleased you enjoyed Every Step of the Way. It was a story that had to be told. X 🙂

  4. What a beautiful way you have with words! I love how you described your emotions, I can totally follow your journey. Every Step Of The Way is really high on my TBR. If only there were more hours in the day… Anyway, thanks for a wonderful post, Kit. X

  5. We took similar paths. My first book took 8 years and many many many rewrites. I just couldn’t give up on it. My sister-in-law summed it up for me when she said, “Do you realize this is your first book. And, it’s published not sitting under the bed.”

    By the way I like the new picture on the top of the page.

    • Hi Lavada. Every Step was actually the third book I’d written, initially started as a sequel to the second. Life and writing and characters take curious and strange paths sometimes. The first book is well and truly dead in the water although one of its characters was resurrected for another saga in the making. the second book, is planned to be published later this year, a paranormal of sorts.
      Glad you like the header picture. Wanted one of London smothered by smog, but they were all in b&w and not very interesting.

  6. Yay! Well done, Kit! I agree you do mature as a writer. Mind you, I have looked back at some old stuff and wondered if it wasn’t in fact better, in a way, fresher. Other aspects, the tools of the trade, so to speak, are long in the learning. Like you, I’ve learned a lot along the way. I’m not sure I’m actually glad at the journey though! 🙂 Good luck! : x

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