Friday 20 July 2012

Don't Look Down

Until recently, I hadn't appreciated just how much worry – how much dread – would come with the completion of book two. At various points over the last year, friends have asked if writing made me feel nervous or exposed, and for some reason I was able to shrug and tell them truthfully that it didn't.

Until recently.

I never saw it coming. Naturally, completing the first draft of book two felt great, and I was able to take a break from weekends of writing. But then, as the weeks crept on, I knew it would soon be time to look at the editing, so copies went out to a few trusted friends. And that's when it happened. Perhaps the simplest way to describe it is being a little like vertigo – everything's just fine until you glance down into the abyss and suddenly you're reeling.

What if this thing that I've spent a year on doesn't work? What if it disappoints the readers? What if I got it wrong?

I've heard several authors say that their second book was harder to write than the first. In my case, the writing part seemed okay, but I was much more worried about the reaction to the second book. Perhaps because this one had something to "live up to" or perhaps simply because I really had nothing to lose the first time round.

It doesn't sound like much of an advert for being a writer. However, there is an upbeat ending to all this. For as tough as those weeks of waiting have been, there is a huge sense of achievement – seriously, it's quite overwhelming! – now that I've heard back from some people who've read it. Yes, there's still work to do – lots to tweak and polish – but the feedback has been positive and, above all, they enjoyed reading it. More than anything, that’s what I wanted... and there’s no better cure for literary vertigo.

Monday 16 July 2012

Wheels within wheels...

It really ought to be easier than this. I need to replace my car, and I need to do it before the end of the month. I've looked around at what's out there, read reviews, narrowed the field to a few possible options, and I'm in the process of doing test-drives, etc.

I'm a bloke – this process ought to be fun, for crying out loud!

But somehow it isn't. Every vehicle I've looked at, and every dealer I've visited, has one or more negatives associated with it. One miserable salesman shook his head and insisted I'd prefer a different model. Another one told me I could get a particular discount, then immediately rowed back from it. And if I turn my attention to a used car, I feel as though I need a team of forensic motor mechanics, and a tame Trading Standards Officer in tow.

On top of all that, my previous car was great – reliable, great to drive, and really nice to look at. I'll be sad to see it go. So if it's going to cost me thousands of pounds, the process ought to be painless. It ought to be speedy and simple. It really ought to be easier than this.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Paparazzi Piece

What a pleasant surprise. Sitting at my desk, where I've just been handed the post, and the first envelope I open contains a couple of copies of Badische Zeitung - a German newspaper. And there, right across the section front page is one of my Stonehenge Solstice photos, along with two more underneath!
I've had photos published before, but seeing my work in a newspaper is a first - there's even a little Foto credit byline! Maybe one day they'll let me shoot the cover photo for one of my books...