Coming home after a long and gruelling day at work, I wasn’t expecting to find a surprise waiting for me at the front door. A cardboard box was patiently sitting on the staircase. I wasn’t expecting a parcel but the label clearly stated my name, so I took the box upstairs and opened it.
In some respects, I had been expecting its contents. But with life being a bit eventful at the moment the matter had been pushed down on my list of priorities. Of course I’m talking about the author copies of my book. Extreme States has been available for a few weeks (here, to be precise, or at your preferred retailer) but due to printing issues I had not yet received them yet. Looks like this had finally been rectified.
Even though the setting was not as glamorous as I’d hoped it would be – there was no champagne and I was sitting on my bed in my sweaty sports gear, as I’d run home after work – it felt like a significant moment. After years of hard and frustrating work, here was what I had been aiming for all along. My book.
Upon reaching a significant goal it’s always a good idea to take a break and reflect. I’m always working on something, so this moment does not feel like The End, but I can’t help noting down some thoughts and reflections on the book and the process that made it happen.
- It takes time and patience
Writing flourishes when it is not rushed. But getting a book into print also means working with other people and taking part in processes that may take longer than one would like. Being an impatient control freak I have, at times, struggled with this. Was it worth it? Absolutely. But I was armed with all the determination I had.
- It is anxiety-provoking
With a contract under my belt, I’d expected to feel more confident. I was now officially a writer so surely there was no need to worry about my abilities to bring the project to completion? Wrong. I was more insecure than ever, knowing that my words would be printed and read by others. At the end of the day ruthlessly ignoring these unhelpful thoughts turned out the only sensible option. I was writing, ergo I was good enough. Next.
- It can feel unreal
I’m a material girl, so throughout the writing process I struggled to believe that the book would ever materialize. It was just a file sitting on my computer that was being e-mailed back and forth between myself, my editor and the copy editor. It did not look like a book at all. I had recurrent dreams where I was told that, unfortunately, a mistake had been made and my book would not be published after all. See also point two: these dreams are best ignored.
- Seeing your work in print is surprisingly satisfying
Being a bit of a print geek, having a finished physical book to hold in my hands is important. It has my name on the cover, I recognize the writing inside, it even has a fancy index. I can leaf through it and read a story I already know, but boy it looks attractive. In fact I’d recommend anyone who has ever produced a significant body of work – be it writing, art, or holiday photos – to turn it into a book. Self-publishing options come cheap these days and it’s great to own a beautiful object to commemorate all your hard work.
- It feels normal, but in a good way
My mum has told me that first holding your newborn baby is at the same time completely new and very normal. I don’t have children but holding my newborn book feels similar. Yes, it’s new and exciting, but not in a hysterical I-want-to-dance-around-the-room kind of way. Instead, it feels good. I dreamed about doing this, I worked hard, and here it is. Isn’t it lovely?
Image my own