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.