Five Years and Counting
September is generally a special month for me as an author. Out of the four novels I've published so far, three of them were published in September (2016, 2017 and 2019). It wasn't a conscious choice at the beginning of my journey to make it such a significant month, but that just seemed to be when I was ready to release books.
It probably won't have escaped your notice there hasn't been a release from me in September 2020 or September 2021. In fact, the last book I released was Such Crooked Wood back in April 2020.
That isn't to say I haven't been writing and editing. I've finished a first draft and two second drafts on different projects, plus I'm working on the final draft of 'Max', the third novel in the Valerie Series. There are also two other projects almost at the final draft stage, not to mention my Victorian episodic project I've been toying with for five years.
So, if I haven't stopped writing, what's the problem?
Part of it is that I diverted a lot of energy into trying to create a space for LGBTQIA+ writers to grow their craft in the form of Rhubarb Writing Shed. For now, that ambition has gone on the back-burner thanks to my personal failings. I won't beat about the bush - I wanted to create something I wasn't mentally equipped to create at that point in time. A combination of factors (not least the whole global pandemic thing) has left me depleted and unable to stretch myself any further. RWS is on the back-burner for now, but it may not be dead permanently because I strongly feel there's something I can give back to the LGBTQIA+ writing community. I'm just not quite there yet.
A side-effect of failing at one thing is that you question your ability to do anything else. Like many people, I feel like I've been trapped in a bubble for 18 months and now the real world's catching up with me and the bubble's popped. The trouble is, that bubble seems to be a hundred metres in the air and it's a long way down.
In one sense, it's a good thing. After all, I haven't published a novel while I've been in that bubble, so popping it can only be a good thing. Yet, as most authors will tell you, the act of publishing a book (and getting it to that finish line in the first place) is terrifying. When you're already in freefall, the fear can be almost immobilising.
Today, I'm trying to be positive. I've published four novels, which is about four more than many people will do. All my novels have 4* ratings on Amazon and Goodreads, plus I've been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people so far on my journey and I'd go so far as to hope I can call them friends.
I may not have released a novel in September 2021, but 'Max' will be released soon and maybe that's all that matters right this minute.
Thanks for sticking with me.