Friday, 15 August 2008

The party's over, let the fun begin!

That's it. Day job is OVER. A huge thanks to everyone who came to Mary Janes bar last night to celebrate my retirement.
It was great to touch base with my agent, the inexhaustable Sarah Davies, fresh off a plane from the US and bag stuffed with manuscripts. The woman does not stop and I count my lucky stars she signed me up. Then there's the Scott Wilson crowd and all associated chums from the wide world of engineering: THANK YOU! I've worked in a lot of different places and the people at the City office have been a delight. I'm going to miss you all but especially Rory's crew: Jerome, Sean, John, Marius, Felix, Nicol, Peter, Bill and my boss (at least for the next five hours) Rory. The South London posse was there in force, especially pleased we're all still friends after last weekend's camping.

So, here we are.

It's very weird sitting here at my empty desk with all the hurly-burly ended. I'm packed, I've stolen as much stationary as my bag will carry (hey, I'll need all these pens to write my epic!). Right, the next two weeks are rewriting THE DEVIL'S KISS, which I'm really enjoying all over again. Trying hard not to branch off in any new directions, it's too late in the day for that as it's got to be with the Copy Editor early September.

I'm got a fairly rigid routine set, mainly revolving around child care , school runs and writing. I think it's the best way to maintain the self-discipline which, I believe, is the biggest danger to my new lifestyle. I don't know how long my career as a writer will last, and I am discarding the usual 'don't give up the day job' advice but time is short and once in your life you've just got leap in and worry about the depth later.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Quiting the day the dream?

On Friday 15th August 2008 I quit the day job after 18 years, 11 months and 16 days after I began.
To be a writer.
Firstly I know I'm fantastically lucky to have this opportunity and this time last year I had absolutely NO IDEA it would turn out this way. So luck, timing, awesome agent and lots of rewriting have paid off, big time.
Still...feeling pretty anxious about it all. There's a perculiar comfort is salary, sticking by the rules and (lets face it) a lot of practise and training as an engineer. There's a box, didn't realise it was a cage until quite recently but the sudden release into fresh air and the awesome unlimited scenery is frightening. I've been on a narrow road and stepping off the path is quite bewildering.
Of course, this is my dream. I haven't been able to sleep for the last few days because of the excitement. But...
I haven't finished. I have the deal, but no book. It's being rewritten, but it's not out, it's not on the shelves, its not sold by the truck-load so I can put my feet up with a cigar and say I'VE MADE IT.
You think once you have the agent, it's easy. It's not. Then you think once you have the deal, it's easy. It's not. Then the editor's comments, then the rewrite, then the copy-editor's comments and on and on. Once it's on the shelves I'm sure I'll be twitching and worrying about how to promote it, is it in all the bookshops, if not, why not, etc.
It's funny, I was far less frightened and worried before it all went well the way it did. Writing's all about drawing stuff out from your guts, how do you feel about what's going on. You can't find the answers on a chart, on the calculator or even in the thousands of books about writing. There is no formula, and that's what makes it so special, so exciting and worth all the effort and fear.