I finally got a whole night's sleep last night and feel able to put fingers to keyboard. It's ironic that in a week where I'm suddenly being feted for my writing, that writing is the thing I've done least of...
Adrenalin has been my drug of choice since last Friday - no need for coffee, energy drinks or amphetamine sulphate, I've been totally wired on nervous tension. Of course, SCBWI Undiscovered Voices 2010 is the cause of my condition, and I'm well aware what an enviable condition it is!
I got the confirmation call, drank some champagne (which we'd been conveniently saving for a special occasion) and jumped around for a bit in a state of moderate disbelief. The next day, I picked up my manuscript and started fiddling and proof-reading (my proof-reading obsession has already been well documented in previous posts).
The official announcement on Tuesday was another opportunity for jumping around, along with actually telling and thanking all of the people who've got me this far. Then an hour or so later, I got the phone call. The one I'd been waiting for, dreaming of all these years. A real live publishing person wanted to read my book. They were calling me.
I'd rehearsed that call so many times, so many different ways, and what surprised me afterwards was how calm I was. Despite all the stress on my adrenal glands, the whole conversation was quiet and business-like. I was struck by a truth (and bear with me 'cause this is kind of obvious), that the publishing industry is just that, and selling a book is no different in many ways from what I do in my day job, which often involves pitching and selling computer solutions.
But, and there's a big but here, this is my book. This is my heart that I have to send away and risk it being returned in a thousand pieces, the box rattling and tinkling as the postman drops it onto my doormat. (I actually sent the manuscript by email, but you try making up a romantic metaphor about that). Anyway, it's out there and we'll see what happens.
The reality shift of the last week has coloured my life in odd ways, subtly altering my perspective. On a visit to a prospective secondary school (for my daughter), last night, we walked into the library and suddenly there they were. Books. Children's books with their shiny dustcovers. Books like mine. I could almost stretch out and touch it. Then the doubts set in - the librarian told us about an author of samurai books (Chris Bradford) who had come in to talk to the children. He was a samurai expert who wore the armour and put on a display of martial arts skills. This was cool, but where was my gimmick? Could I find a zombie somewhere to bring in with me? Could I obsess about this stuff any more?!?
So that was my week, somehow very different and kind of the same all at once. It still had me in it, anyway.