Despite spending most of my adult life writing short stories, novels, poetry, plays etc. I only seriously started the journey towards publication four years ago. Now I'm certain publication is within my grasp, I wonder if I want it. I realised I have fallen into that ridiculously common trap that I saw other people fall into. I'm OK with failure, I'm unsure about success.
All around me, people are shouting at me to push on and capitalise on my present position. Yes, the Mslexia competition result was encouraging and maybe now is the time to send stuff off to agents. Actually, my long and shortlisted poetry looks like it would make a nice collection, perhaps I ought to polish it up and submit it to a chapbook publisher.
Yet I'm sitting here, thinking about it. I feel like I need to pace things. I can't control anything, I can't make an agent take me on, I can't force a publisher to offer me publication. I'm just gently letting the Mslexia thing happen for a few weeks, working towards another competition - the prize is publication, after all. When I was on the MA one author said you've got to be 100% focused on selling your book and not let go. Another one said when you're ready - when you've written enough drafts and novels - your stuff just floats to the top. Most people, he pointed out, don't write enough, don't get to that point.
So I'm sitting here, enjoying the moment, dealing with other stuff like one daughter moving out (literally, today), one son applying to university, another son at university, one daughter about to hit teenage and random other happenings. My aim, always, was teaching. Now I know it was always, under the surface, getting published, but I can let it happen rather than try to force it to happen.
Bottom line is I know Borrowed Time is a stonkingly good book. A lot of reassurance comes from that. I want to be a novelist.