So, I’ve authored a book. Referring to myself as an author is still very strange. It’s not something that I’d ever thought I’d get to say about myself, in all honesty. It was always a nice thought, that perhaps one day I’d commit enough to write an entire book rather than starting hundreds of unfinished manuscripts. But this one, for some reason, stayed with me, and I stayed with it. I’m so glad I did, because (as cheesy as it might sound) it’s been the journey of a lifetime.
How did it come about? Well, my final year of university cemented the fact that I was exhausted with education, and exhausted in general (particularly mentally). It was not a fantastic time in any respect. So, I started to write a story.
I had already started to lay its foundations with the material that had been circling in my mind for probably about a year beforehand, feeling like the idea was bursting at the seams in my head and had to be put to paper. For a short time it was just a means of escape, something to delve into when I felt like it. Since I was little, I’ve loved books and stories, and I’m sure you could ask any member of my family and they’d tell you about any number of things that I wrote when I was younger. But it wasn’t until it cropped up in conversation with my dad and he said, “so, you’re writing a book?” that I stopped and thought… good God. I am writing a book. That moment was the turning point.
From that point on, it became my own personal quest. Throughout the ups and downs that life was putting me through at the time, it was consistent, and it was flourishing. Most writers will say that they hit a point where they believe everything they’ve written is utter rubbish and it’ll never be finished, but for some reason those thoughts never crossed my mind. I think I was too busy being knocked sideways by the fact that I was actually writing something.
Soon, it had become the most rewarding and extraordinary experience of my life. It had become something that I was truly proud of – I lived it day in and day out. It lifted me up when other things were trying to pull me down. I was convinced to try and put it out there in the world, and of course I faced two rejections almost instantly. Rejection does, of course, hurt. But if anything, the rejections made me more determined. I accepted that rejection was a part of the author experience long ago, and I think this has helped me absorb those knock-backs and power forward.
When I finally finished it at the beginning of this year, it was bittersweet. One part of me was thinking, “I’ve written a book. I’ve created a world. How on Earth have I done this?”, and the other was sad that it was over, in a sense. My book was my safe place, my security blanket, my own ideas and emotions on paper. But I knew that I wanted to share it. So, a friend of my mum’s gave her the details of how to publish on Amazon, and I bit the bullet.
Seeing it there, available for people to buy and own and read, is more surreal than calling myself an author in the first place. Elation encompasses me whenever I see my friends or family posting photos of their copies, whenever I see a review, whenever someone buys a copy. As painful as it was to let it go and be in the world, it’s been a hundred times more rewarding to see something that I have done, finally complete.
Writing is something that I will champion forever as a means of providing comfort, inspiration, safety and solace. It’s been one of the only things that has pulled me up and out of dark places, and given me a reason to be rather proud of myself. I do truly believe that everyone has a book in them; all you’ve got to do is give it a bit of time and a bit of love, much like a plant, and eventually it will start to grow.
For some people (like me) writing is an opportunity to escape and shrug off any anxiety lingering around them, an excuse to dive into a world that is entirely your own. For others it’s a hobby, something to do. Both will work, and both will reward you. Trying to get your work out there and gain any traction whatsoever is hard, a hundred times harder than I thought it was going to be, but while a year ago the rejection would have punched me in the gut, it barely touches me now. Because I’m so stunned, proud, bewildered, impressed, and feeling victorious at the fact that I’ve written a book.
Ah, it’s just hit me, the perfect word to describe writing, and becoming an author. Healing.