The Long Road

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Writing a book is a process. And quite a lengthy one at that. Often we think that the difficult bit is getting the idea and setting it all down on the page. Or maybe we think the hard part is the effort of writing, day after day, week after week.

But in actual fact, writing a book is only the first half of the long process, the long road. Because after the writing comes the editing, the revising, the editing, the revising, followed by the editing and maybe some revising. Then there’s beta-reading. And leaving it to ‘mature’. Followed by some revising and possibly a bit more editing.

One day – one wonderful day – your ‘baby’ is published. And you feel like you can sit back and relax, heaving a sigh of relief as you do so.  Well, okay, maybe just for a few minutes.

Then it’s back to work. No, not on a new book! You’ve still got to promote and market this one! You need to engage readers, you need to tell the world about your book. Yes it is so, so exciting. But…

If you’re struggling in the middle of all this, if you’re wondering why it’s not fun any more, or why you feel anxious, overwhelmed, depressed, exhausted, emotional, or bewildered, and you feel that your ‘baby’ is not the cute little bundle of joy you were expecting… relax. It’s okay. You’re normal. We all feel like this sometimes.

Because, to repeat myself, it is a process.

It can be demoralising. You can end up feeling you hate your book and wondering why you didn’t stick with your day-job. In fact, I read ‘somewhere’ that if you don’t hate your book by the time it is published, you haven’t done enough work on it. I can honestly say that by the time my first book was ‘out there’ I hated the very sight of it.

But I did it. I published a book. And it was a draining, exhausting, wonderful, fulfilling, exciting process. The sense of achievement took a long time to filter through, but eventually I was able to regard my work with pride. And somehow, I managed to do it again. You will too. If I can do it, with all my ignorance, lack of skills, naivete and my lack of marketing savvy, then you most definitely can too.

So if you’re struggling. If you wonder where the magic went, and whether it’s worth all this hassle, and feel like giving up, stop worrying. You’re doing it right. This is what it’s like – this is the process. You’re doing it right. Just carry on.