Saturday, January 28, 2017

Waiting for news

I'm not sure how I survive being a writer because a great deal of time is spent waiting for news of some kind: of reviews for the latest novel, editorial feedback on the current novel, rankings on lists of already published novels, whether you've got an award nomination or been successful for funding, or the results of a submission to a new publisher. Currently, I'm waiting for news of almost all of the above.

I think I'm one of the least patient people I know, ironically given this writing lark, and I'm not easy to live with. I do not enjoy this waiting period and I try not to put my life on hold as the news filters back because once the work has left my hands, it is out of my control.

I have two daughters. Grown up now. At home, during their childhood, there were occasional tantrums and arguments and comments of 'I can't stand you!' shouted around the house.
I always apologized to them for my behavior afterwards. 😉
Don't feel sorry for them. They gave me back attitude twice as tough many a time.

I worked hard, however, to ensure that they presented themselves to others with their best behavior - not insincere but with a genuine kindness, a willingness to work hard, and a desire to help others. They may not have kept their rooms tidy but they were always helping out in the wider world. People said nice things about them. I did not find raising daughters (especially intelligent, articulate, strong willed and big hearted daughters) easy. But I worked damn hard to learn how to be a good mother and learn how to mother them both. Didn't get it right all the time (see tantrum comment above) but the determination to do the very best by them has paid off. They survived childhood and are now (mostly) independently making their way in the world (though me taking them shopping trips to buy underwear is still allowed, apparently).

I think my relationship to my stories is very similar. I apply the 'bum glue', read books about writing and language, read great stories by great writers, talk to writer friends, go back and work and re-work my writing. When my girls were young, I ensured that before they left the house, they were wearing tidy clothes,  had eaten a good meal, been reminded of manners, and their faces were free of smeared marmite.

That checking to make sure everything is the best is can be is what I do with my story: I pat it on the bottom and send it out into the world to be judged.

This Wednesday, 1st of Feb, my new novel, My NZ Story: Bastion Point, is out into the world.
In a few weeks, the third novel in my international edition of A Crown of Blood and Honour, will become available.
By May, I will know the results of all the other things I am waiting for. I tell myself that I've done the very best work I am capable of and now it is out of my hands.
And, while I wait, I might as well write.