Writing a book is an intensely private affair. When I’ve finished writing one, along with the euphoria I feel at completing such a mammoth task (and be under no illusion – it is a mammoth task), I feel deflated – the same way you might after watching a good film or reading a good book. I look around and think, ‘Now what?’ There is a rainbow of emotions to experience before you can begin to get on with your life; it really is that disruptive – to me anyway.
But uppermost in that list of feelings, is fear. You and your baby have been through hell and high water for a year or so, and you’ve cuddled it, sworn at it, beaten it, and shed tears and blood (yes blood. Paper cuts are evil!), shared laughter and frustration with it. It has caused friction in your ‘real’ life, it has given you a crutch to support you when ‘real’ life has been too much to bear alone. It has been the one thing you have thought of more than just about anything else for as long you can remember. It lives within you.
And now you’re going to let the world look at it.
Are you nuts?
That world is often cruel, and it takes no prisoners. It laughs at your efforts and mocks you without even the good grace to smile as it does so.
So beware, releasing a book is a minefield of nerves and emotions.
So far, with Sword of Damocles, all is good. The reviewers seemed to like it very much, making the fear abate somewhat. I’d like to say I can just sit back now and enjoy the ride, but I can’t because the nerves are never far away.
I’ve heard that the pain of childbirth melts away and all a mother knows is that happiness of seeing her child grow. The same is true for writing I think. The emotional turmoil and the physical pain dissolves when the good reviews come in, and it is because of these reviews that the heartache of writing a novel gives way to the joy of having written it. The pleasure other people get form your work outweighs the pain it took to create it.