Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Writer's Unease

Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems to me that the life of a writer is filled with unease. My novel, Pariah, has just been published and I’m ecstatic about it. So far, the reception it’s got has been pretty good too. However, try as I might, I can’t stop myself pondering all sorts of vexing questions. Is it selling well? Do people like it? Am I getting enough reviews? Should I be doing more to publicise it?

And then there is the next novel in the series, the manuscript of which I completed this week and sent to my editor at Pan Macmillan. I’m happy with it. In some ways I think it’s a stronger book than Pariah. But again the questions. Will my editor like it? More importantly, will he like it enough to offer me another contract? Is it really as good as I would like to believe it is? Are there major holes in the plot that I have overlooked? Is it not as original as I thought? What if it gets rejected?

I’m generally not a pessimist. And if my writing career stalls, it’s not disastrous: I have a good day job that pays the mortgage and puts food on the table. For many authors the answers to these questions are probably much more critical than they are to me. Writing is their livelihood.

And yet still these questions continue to bug me. I know they shouldn’t. What will be will be. But my suspicion is that I’m not the only author who goes through this. I also suspect that it’s a feeling that never ends, no matter how many books one has under one’s belt. I guess it’s one of the many things I am continuing to discover that go with the territory of being a writer.

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