I LOVE being a writer. On any given day, I can become new characters with their own thoughts, lives, histories and problems. It's like being a little girl playing dress-up all over again. Or an actress, as I used to be. When I open up that Word document, I take control of the stage and my audience.
Yes, that creativity had to come out somehow. And thank goodness I found a way that works for me.
So, what are the bonuses? What makes my little author's heart beat the fastest?
1. When I have that first exciting seed of an idea and it suddenly grows arms and legs faster than I can type or scribble my notes.
2. Checking my sales figures on a day when I can put two fingers up to the publishing houses who were considering me and then changed their minds.
3. When my husband reads what I've written for the day and looks at me with a smile and a nod, saying, 'I really want to know what happens next.'
4. To have been able to be there for my son (when he's needed me - now, not at all!) and my lovely mum. I am my own boss - I can make up time as and when I need to. Juggling as 'The Sandwich Mum' has become my special talent.
5. Looking at hunky guys on the web for 'research'. We all want to have a clear image of the love interest, don't we? It's a tough job but I hope my books are better for it. (My excuse and I'm sticking to it).
6. The thrill of having someone who didn't even know of my existence until a couple years ago, asking me when my next book is due out and telling me that they can't wait.
7. Those reviews that bring a tear to my eye and make me realise that someone 'got' exactly what I was trying to say with my words.
8. Getting up in the morning and knowing precisely where my characters are planning on taking me. (Though sometimes cursing when life throws a curve ball at me - because 'you're not in an office so you don't really work, do you?')
9. Having friends introduce me as 'a writer' - I still feel a fraud but, hey, why should I? This is how I earn my money.
10. Typing THE END. And then the buzz I get knowing that I'll soon be typing 'CHAPTER ONE' again.
BUT ... there is a flip side to every coin. What do I hate?
1. The days that I spend forever either staring at a blank screen or a boiling kettle as I drink endless cups of unwanted coffee because my characters seem to have gone AWOL. I refuse to call it writers' block - the ONLY time I have that is when I'm waking up to the idea that I'm writing the wrong book.
2. A bad review - thankfully I've not had to weather too many but, ouch, they hurt! Thank you for taking the time to tell me that my baby is ugly, dear reader, I hope you always feel guilty when you indulge in your secret pleasure.
3. Editing. Don't get me started. Regular readers will know - it's a time of great stress and exhaustion in the Misfit household. If I never had to edit another book with husband again, I'd ... oh, I don't know, I'd run naked around the neighbourhood singing a 'Radiohead' song with a feather in my cap.
4. Promoting. Again, you all know why. I JUST WANT TO WRITE! If a character is calling, I don't want to have to put them to bed so that I can look at new ways of selling myself. I'm a writer not a hooker.
5. The fact that Indies are, generally, still not considered to be real writers. And the attitude of some traditionally published authors. Get over yourselves!
6. Knowing that I only have a window of a couple of hours before either chauffeuring, shopping or carer's duties and if I don't get all my thoughts down then, I'll be stuffed. On days like that, I'd like to put my brain, or other people, into 'freeze mode'.
7. Getting HALF WAY through a manuscript (about 40K words) and realising that I've fallen out of love with it. The chances are, the feeling will have been creeping for a while but I've chosen to ignore it (a bit like when a relationship sours with a dodgy boyfriend). I now have several hidden in a drawer - (books, not men - that would an arrestable offense and just a tad odd) but, the good news is, there have been characters within those rejects with such strong voices, they've either emerged in other books or are waiting in the wings for the next.
8. When I wake up in the middle of the night with THE BEST plot twist and I'm too lazy to turn over and write it down. I can guarantee that it won't come back to me until about four the next afternoon.
9. Always wondering if it's time to approach agents again. With my 'stable' of books and my rather lovely reviews, am I doing myself a disservice by continuing to struggle as an Indie? Is it time for me to have my faith in the profession restored?
10. The first few weeks after releasing a new book and wondering if even my most loyal readers will hate it. I can take the bad reviews from a one-off reader but if a 'regular' came back and said I'd lost the Egan Spark, I might lose the will to live.
So, that's it! As a reader, I hope I gave you a bit of insight as to what goes on in a writer's head. And to all you writers out there - do you agree? Tell me your thoughts, please - I'd love to know I'm not the only one who has this love/hate relationship with writing. Oh! And my latest novel is due for release on June 19th! Sneak preview here.