I started writing when I was young, and then somewhere along the way, I stopped. I don’t know when or the exact reason why. I can just remember not writing anymore.
I missed it enormously, but I couldn’t bring myself to sit down and do it. Maybe, it was years’ worth of writer’s block.
Stories still invaded my headspace with characters that weren’t created yet, and backstories yet to be told, but I let them dwindle in my mind, unwritten for years. Then lockdown 1.0 happened last March. After the fear of the unknown slowly moulded into a temporary normal and when I knew it wouldn’t change for a while, I started reading again.
I realise now that along that same road, I also stopped reading. And any writer will know, to write, you must read. Your own stories will ignite in the pages of another.
Slowly, I felt it happening – that spark in my mind and the twitch of my fingers, eager to get another story out. My husband bought me a laptop, and I finally listened to him and my mother when they encouraged me and said, “Go and write.”
So, I did. Not having any idea where it would lead, I uploaded my existing stories to an online writing platform run by a publishing house and received amazing feedback from readers.
I never thought that months later, I would receive a call from said publisher, offering me a contract for Watch Over My Life. When they asked what I had planned next, I told them about Losing Love.
Now, anyone that knows me, or any writer, will understand how difficult it is to explain your own book to someone else (it’s why we have a description on the back). But in between my jumbled gibberish, they must have understood something they liked because Losing Love will be published later this year.
Before I knew it, I had signed on for another three books.
I was dumbstruck because I had tried before. But I was very young then. My story wasn’t polished, and I was in way over my head. Part of being an author is rejection, and we hear the word “No,” more times than we write it in our books. It happens. It’s part of it. It goes with the territory. But it takes one “Yes.” And it all happened when I least expected it.
I went from finally finding the courage to tell my stories again, to diving headfirst into the publishing industry. I had never been so scared and excited all at once.
Naively, I thought I could sit back and let it happen. But that’s not how it works.
It turns out, writing the book was the straightforward part. I was suddenly thrust into a world of contracts, deadlines, translation rights, editors, graphic designers, and marketing.
And—oh sweet divine—marketing.
Marketing was a part of my previous job, though I never had to market myself or something I created. But I was so eager to learn that I waded myself out of the deep end until everything—well, some things—made sense. (I’m still learning.)
After months of writing, rewriting, editing, and then editing again, my book came through the letterbox. And to see the words I had written on pages of a book was the best feeling in the world.
Then, it was time to send the book to Advanced Review Readers, and I almost choked on my panic. I forgot people would have to actually read my stories. But the reviews have been more than I dreamed of, and I am extremely grateful that people feel connected to the story.
While all of this was still going on, I was finishing Losing Love, and getting started on my third book.
And then there was a lull in the mayhem. I’m not involved in everything that goes on behind the scenes. So, just when I thought it was time to wait around for release day, I got a call from my publisher that went something like this: “Let’s do this all over again. Before the publication of Watch Over My Life, it’s time to get a head start for the release of Losing Love.”
More marketing preparation, editing, meetings with cover designers, deadlines, and pinching myself to make sure it’s real. There’ll be more doubts, and even more times I have to pick myself up and shake them off. But there will also be that part when the next book comes through the letterbox and when I get to see my words on new pages.
I’m sure, I’ll feel a myriad of those emotions again, but I have never been so excited to dive back into chaos.