The Best Thing About Being A Writer Is...

Friday, June 05, 2009, 7:14 PM

On Wednesday, Betsy Dornbusch (aka Sex Scenes at Starbucks) made her 1000th blog post. I'm very flattered that it featured a review of THE TWELVE (which incidentally got its first Amazon review today - five stars, thanks for asking). I was going to use a link to Betsy's piece yesterday to fulfil my once-a-day obligation, but that was waylaid by the arrival of the actual finished book in the mail.

In yesterday's post I may have given the impression that finally reaching the milestone of clutching my own published novel in my sweaty hands was somehow anticlimactic. That wasn't what I meant to say; it was such a big moment for me that I took the book straight to my mum's house where she and my sister and I all sat around and adored it. Since yesterday, the book has rarely been more than two feet away from me as I carry it from room to room. In fact, I think the only room it hasn't entered is the bathroom.

What I meant to put across is that this wonderful event has been preceded by a string of wonderful events. There was the thrill of finishing the novel's first draft, then the thrill of finding my beta readers actually liked it, then the thrill of realising I could make it better, then the thrill of my beta readers liking it even more, then the huge thrill of being approached by a top agent, then the even more huge thrill of said agent offering representation, then... you see where I'm going with this? Everything that happened between first deciding to write this novel and finally holding it in my hands has been a series of intensifying wonderments. It was not a stark transition, a flip, between being an aspiring writer with an idea, and a published writer with a physical book. It was a two year marathon, with the occasional stumble along the way.

It doesn't make this singular event in my life any less of a landmark - it's just that it's in the context of a string of landmarks that got me here.

Which brings me back to the start of this post, and indeed its title. I thought a little bit about what the best thing about being a published writer is. Fame and fortune are, alas, still distant dreams, so they're out to start with. The sense of achievement is one highlight, certainly, and that comes at all stages, from having a particularly good writing session to signing the contract. Receiving compliments from readers is wonderful, and my vanity will most likely ensure I never tire of it. The sheer joy of bringing the strands of a plot together to form something you hadn't anticipated is another great part of it.

The biggest thing, though, is very personal. And it's going to sound mawkish and sentimental. The best thing about being a writer is all the friends I've made, from the earliest days of sending stuff out for critique, up to being published and the other writers I've met as a result, some of them big names, who have turned out to be very nice people. I suppose I use the term 'friend' loosely, in that some are really no more than friendly acquaintances, and some are people I've only exchanged emails or blog comments with. But as a whole, the number and variety of people I've come to know over the last two years in the greatest reward for the work I've put into this.

I won't go into naming names - you all know who you are. But I will single out Betsy as being my earliest and best writer friend, because she symbolises the whole experience for me.

You may now all call be a great big wuss.

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Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Now my eyeliner is all ruined, you big wuss!!

8:36 PM  
Blogger Jamie Eyberg said...

It has been, and will remain, our tremendous pleasure to say, "yeah, I knew him before he was famous."

10:24 PM  
Blogger McKoala said...

Constant cuddling in other words. Excellent!

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hee hee. "number and variety of people" must be your chivalrous way of saying "nutcases and wackos." but then maybe i'm just speaking about Stephen P. and me. ha.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Josephine Damian said...

The Best Thing About Being A Writer Is... saying "to hell with doing these daily blog posts!"

3:08 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I'm constantly surprised by the grace and decency of those I've encountered through writing, and Stuart, you're certainly no exception. It's one heck of a tribe, is it not? Your success is much deserved, and it's fantastic to see just how much you're enjoying the ride.

4:17 PM  

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