Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Exposing the writer

Writing is a solitary occupation. Writers usually spend hours in front of computers, alone but for characters and thoughts.

When I'm writing, I'm often joined by one or both of my cats. Today the sun is shining so they're in the window watching the birds in the garden.

Writers like being alone. It's the best way to walk the corridors of imaginary halls, chat with fictional people and to live in a world as different from our own as we choose it to be.

Occasionally, though, reality steps in and the writer is required to engage in society. Last Sunday, my novel Torn was launched at a public event, and although it was successful, and I was well supported by family and friends, it was very challenging for me.

Launching a book, as any writer will tell you, is daunting. When you send that piece of yourself out into the great wide world, you're a bit like a parent watching their child leave home. They will either fail or succeed and you have very little control over it. You hope you've done your work well and that they will make the best of themselves, but ultimately it's out of your hands.

That's how I feel about Torn right now!

Another hurdle is the feeling of exposure - writing can be an intensely personal thing and when you release your words into the ether, there's a feeling of standing naked before a crowd and inviting their critique. Will they ooh and aah with delight? Will they point and laugh? Will they snort scornfully and turn away?

Yep, that's also how I feel about Torn right now!

Finally, there's me personally.

Unlike a lot of people I'm not afraid of public speaking. I have had many years on stage as a presenter and public speaker. I've also been a singer and have participated in more musical productions than I can remember. But that's all a stage persona.

I had invited a wonderful and very professional speaker, Jennifer Box, to launch Torn for me, and while she did an excellent job, it's an extraordinarily uncomfortable experience to sit beside someone who is talking to an audience about you and your work in the third person. Then, when an excerpt from the book is read out loud...well, let's just say that hole in the floor would not open up no matter how hard I wished for it.

Torn is not the first book I have published and launched, but it is certainly the most important. So, I have stepped away from the comfort of my computer, my nice cosy office and the silent companionship of cats, and exposed myself, naked, to the world - don't be naughty, you know what I mean!

Am I scared? You bet, but I have enjoyed the writing of this book so much, that my sincerest hope is for my readers to enjoy the reading of it.

Just as the parent cutting the apron strings hopes their child makes a success of their lives, we writers launch our books and trust we've done the best job we can.

Unlike the parent, we dust off our hands, make another coffee and say, "Okay - next book!"

Torn and All That & Everything are available in both E and print formats. Click here for details.

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