Thursday, 30 May 2013

Being a Writer

I went to an author talk at my local library this evening.  My local library is wonderful by the way - it has recently been refurbished at a cost of £2 million.  It is plush and comfortable - apart from anything else, at long last it boasts a toilet ( I cannot count the number of times over the years that I have had to leave the library to take the kids to the public loo over the road.  Which is more annoying than it sounds). 

It also has a coffee machine, which is a mixed blessing - I was in there the other day revising and the darned thing was broken, and the lady sent to refill it was on the phone to her employers at the top of her voice for what seemed like hours.  I like studying in the part with the coffee machine though - I sit at a big desk looking out of two huge arched windows, and it reminds me of  a kids programme I used to watch donkey's years ago, when you had to choose which window you would be looking through today; round, square or arched.  I always liked the arched window best.

Apologies for writing this drivel...why am I wittering on about arched windows?   Apologies for apologising, actually, why should I not write about whatever?  I am lacking confidence in myself at the mo.  I blame the dratted Psychology exam - I am stressed because I don't think I am going to do very well at it, although how well I do doesn't matter in the slightest, because I don't need another A level.  But I kind of think I will be letting myself down if I don't do well... 

A week or two ago I was so stressed out that I decided not to take it at all, but then that decision caused me stress too, so I decided to just get on with it.  I think it will be my last exam though - I can't imagine wanting to go through this ever again.  Funnily enough, I am studying stress at the moment, which seems to make me even more stressed than usual.  I am also studying 'abnormality' - i.e. mental illness, which is quite hard, because I don't agree with a lot of information in the text book, but if I want to pass the exam I will just have to get over myself in that respect!

A funny thing happened this evening - at the author talk I referred to at the top of this post.  I sold the author one of my books!  I was actually trying to give it to her - I was talking about how I had self-published and she was interested to know how I was doing, and I said I'd had some success but probably because I wrote for a niche market - those people with an interest in mental health.  Then she said her friend had a 23 year old son who had just been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bi-polar (and?!  Poor boy, hit with a double whammy.  But it was probably 'or'...)  Anyway, I handed her a copy of my book, meaning it as a gift, and then she asked if she could buy it. 

I hate selling my books!  But I had just bought hers - she was signing it while we chatted - and also I knew Paul would be pleased if I sold a copy for a change, rather than giving one away.  And also I know I need to learn to value my work properly.  So I let her buy it. 

I just hope that her friend (if she gives it to her friend, I am assuming that's why she wanted it) benefits from it - I should imagine it must be reassuring to know that you can recover from that diagnosis, if you are a mother of someone recently diagnosed.  Although everybody's story is different - but I think the experience of severe mental illness itself is surprisingly similar for a lot of people.  I was convinced, for example, that the delusion that I was being addressed personally by the television was unique to me - but I have since learned that it is quite common.  As is experience of being affected in strange ways by electricity - I got and gave massive electric shocks when I was ill, and I am pretty sure that this is surprisingly common too. 

Anyway, I told the author that I want an agent, and a proper publisher - I think I'll need those if I am going to get widely read.  So I suppose there is an outside chance - a very slim one - that if she likes my book she might recommend me to her agent....?  I am not going to hold  my breath though - I need to get on and write first of all, and regularly.  This lady has written ten novels in fifteen years - that is exactly where I want to be, a regular writer, a prolific author.  I am sure if I devote myself to my craft properly, an agent will come in due course, if that is meant to happen.  If not, there is a lot to be said for self-publishing - the control, above all.

Enough for now.  Need to get this exam done, then need to write, not write about writing!

It is half-term at the moment, and I have been having a lovely time with the children.  I have been doing more with them than I had got into the habit of, and it is great.  I had a long chat with my eldest this morning - she showed me all her art work from last September and  I was really impressed.  Usually she is at school, or at a club, or out with her friends, and we hardly see each other.  And the years slip by, and I am mostly engrossed with the younger children, and suddenly I think - how did that child get to be a teenager?  And how is that little one nearly nine years old? 

At the moment I feel that time is rushing by so fast that I just want to immerse myself in my family - and I have been indulging myself in that this week.  It's probably partly displacement activity - if I am baking biscuits, or crumbles, or helping them with their stories or projects, then I can't be revising for that darned exam, now can I?

No comments:

Post a Comment