As the year approaches its end, I tend to suffer from an increasing sense of melancholy. And as a result – though it may seem counterintuitive – I always become more productive.
Perhaps the short days remind me that time is passing and so I need to make the most of it (I don't know about you, but somehow I feel more mortal on a winter's evening than on a long and lazy summer's day). Perhaps it's the sinking feeling that another new year is coming, and then another birthday, and this time I'd better have something to show for the milestone. Or perhaps it's a throwback to the days when I used to distract myself from school by writing fantasy (is there anything bleaker than the month of November when you're a socially awkward teenager?)
Whatever the reason, it was in autumn 2008 that I first joined an online writing community and, with great fear and trepidation, posted an early draft of my book Dawn Rising.* And I learned that while revealing myself to other writers was hard, my work would become infinitely better as a result.
It was in autumn 2009 that I won my first ever paid writing contest. And I learned that maybe, just maybe, I could earn money from what I was doing.
It was in autumn 2010 that I returned to the same writing community with several projects – including, briefly, the first draft of Darkhaven. And I learned that I had improved in two years, and perhaps I was nearly ready. Nearly.
It was in autumn 2011 that I started blogging. And I learned that sometimes a few hundred words a week can seem like an insurmountable hurdle, and sometimes they are an insurmountable hurdle, but if you can achieve them then maybe you can achieve a snippet of dialogue. Or a scene. Or a chapter.
It was in autumn 2012 that I submitted Darkhaven to Voyager. And I learned that even after 16 months, if it isn't a no then it could very well be a yes …
And here we are.
So what have I been doing in autumn 2014? Well … writing a book. Editing a book. Proofreading an anthology. Writing a short story or two, or three. Designing a set of bookmarks. Raising a baby.
Yep, it's autumn all right.
And I'm learning that I work best under pressure. And that it's possible to write from the point of view of a bad-ass mercenary while breastfeeding. And that selling a book is just the beginning. And that I will always, always have more to learn.
Above all, I'm learning that I should be thankful for the autumn blues. Because without them, I wouldn't be where I am right now. And where I am is good.
* I had to look that up and yes, it's been SIX YEARS. Wow.
30/11/2014 02:00:02 pm
A nice post, Afe. I often wonder what it's like to live in a country that has no distinguishable seasons. And I do so agree about deadlines being a spur. Anyway, it's great that it's all systems go amid the gloom of late autumn!
30/11/2014 02:16:24 pm
Aw, thanks for this post AFE. Made me feel quite emotional to be honest, but in a good way. Like sometimes it feels as if you're just constantly treading water and then you look back and realise just how far you've come. And by the way, I still feel like a socially awkward teenager most of the time! X
1/12/2014 01:50:26 pm
It's funny how you just get more... I dunno... jobbing as a writer. More stuff pops up, different things, more things at once... more stuff gets finished. And then you go back to the real world and talk crap about Power Rangers or work out the spec for inter galactic underpants. Writer motherhood is a weird double lifed existence.
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