Success Of A Thousand Cuts

February 02 2016

I’m an Author. The fact I had to check that spelling twice and, indeed look up the word itself to check whether I should be calling myself one, should tell you how I feel about that. My book Pier Review goes on sale on Feb 11th you can buy it from all good bookshops and a few of the bad ones, also Amazon here.

I’m in the new subside, which I suspect will be called by a certain age of people, ‘the New Subside’ or ‘the Old Dubliner’ until it closes. I’m nuts deep in writing and organising for My book Pier Review which comes out in less than a month. So I’m mainly going to talk about this for the foreseeable. But there are some things I probably won't be saying. And I figured if I can talk about those things anywhere it's my blog where I have no idea how many people read or visit because I purposely turned off any sort of tracking.

You may have seen on various platforms the authors copy came a few days ago and people say to me “you must be so proud” or “it must be amazing to see it in print” and I agree it kinda is and I kinda am. This is where I explain the “kinda” part.

Was it amazing seeing the book as a real actual object? Sure, yes, but I’ve seen every aspect of the book for the last year or so, the cover, the text, everything. So while it feels real it's also strange and somehow familiar. You see getting a book published is success of a thousand cuts, from getting an agent, to pitching, to editing, every success is small and met with either criticism or more work, more often both. In fact at no point does anyone tell you “well done” every success is more work. Success isn't someone shouting “YES”, success is just no-one saying “no”.. Every stage of the editing process has been completely necessary and has only made the book better BUT as a delicate writer type I would never have even showed the text to anyone if I wasn't, at least in part, saying “this is the best I can do - this is finished”.

Even the release date is fraught with anxiety, will it sell, will people like it? At no point does it ever seem appropriate to relax and say “I’ve done well”.

When I was about 13 I handed in a piece of persuasive writing for english. And to my surprise it did got really high marks and was even read out to the class as an great example of the exercise. I was chuffed. Briefly in the abstract I wondered if I could ever be a writer. I’ve always read a lot. I remember specifically the moment as a teenager that I thought “I would love too, but it was too hard -I will never write a book” and turned my attention to art instead. What I didn't know then is that I’m actually quite dyslexic. I decided to be a writer during my art degree when I was diagnosed. And now, years later, I have written half a book. AND got it published.

So this isn't a dream come true, it's actually more than that. This is a dream that I wouldn't even entertain, even for a second, come true. And I’m grateful, for the support, opportunities, and everyone who’s helped. But “success” is a weird hat to wear. Badly fitting and one I secretly suspect makes me look like a tit.

If you are Birmingham based we're having a little bash at a deeeelightful little boozer called the Woodsman on the 12th, if you are going could you join the group here so we know how many of you reprobates are coming.

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