Friday, 23 August 2019
A small milestone.
I did a brave thing last night. OK, technically I did it by accident but it totally still counts.
I sent a chunk of All My Worldly Joy to Unbound! My commissioning editor, Fiona, asked to have a look, to see how it's coming along. I've been really anxious about this, about someone other than me seeing any of the draft. I sent one to a few people about a year ago but it's been all change since then. I've never written anything like this before. It's so odd, writing about myself as if I'm a character. I'm afraid I'm not likeable. I'm afraid it sounds self-indulgent, or self-pitying, or immature... I'm afraid that it's too grim. I'm afraid that my jokes aren't funny, that my episodic format doesn't work.... etc etc etc.
Thankfully I'm feeling greatly reassured about all these things, at least for now. My friend, Nikki, is staying with us at the moment, so she got the dubious privilege of pre-reading the 7,000 words or so I'd bundled up for Fiona. Nikki likes it, at least! She said that, for a book with heavy subject matter, it doesn't feel heavy. It's immersive and readable. The jokes are funny. We discussed the themes and what I'd wanted to communicate, and that all came through. She said it will be helpful for her, as a lecturer, supporting students who are going through similar trauma-related issues. And she's excited for the rest. So - phew.
I seized upon my relief to email Fiona - immediately, before the relief passed and the worry set in again. I added the attachments, and then changed my mind about one of the chapter headings, so I was trying to work out how to unattach the attachments so I could change it... then realised that whilst clicking about I had accidentally sent the email. So it's done now! I hope I can offer you all some sort of preview at some point. I know I've said this before, but I appreciate your patience and your faith in me more than I can describe. I'm aware things have been a bit quiet of late: I've been writing the book rather than writing to you, which is probably as it should be! It's also the big school summer holidays (hello from the soft play, by the way) -
- so I'm making the most of the time with Arthur. It's my first go at doing the summer holidays as a single mum: it's a joy and it's a lot, you know? We've had fun and some really gorgeous moments. I'm still bad at Minecraft. The other day he got up before me, went downstairs and built me my own world to practise in. He named it "Mum I know it's difficult." How can anyone not love that boy. That said, I think I'm ready for him to go back to school now! We're both feeling the lack of structure and routine.
Anyway, as terrified as I am about the book, I'm also really excited, and I hope you are too. I haven't been able to do much advertising of it over the summer - we're currently at 54% - so I need to get on to sourcing more support in the autumn. If you know anyone who might be interested in the book, please recommend it to them! Do the social media thing. I will try to self-promote without cringing too much. Thank you endlessly, all, again.
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