When I started this blog, it seemed like an impossible dream. I would make something up - actually invent a story - and get it published. You know, for money. I can still hear the raucous laughter of doubt, mostly mine, but others too, ringing in my memory's ears. It seemed impossibly pretentious to put 'publication' in the tag line of the blog. But if you don't ask, you don't get, and I thought a short story in a magazine or a poem in an anthology was within my grasp.
But yesterday I got paid. The publisher (which still hasn't made an announcement so I can't give details) pays a chunk on signing, and that's what I got yesterday. Not a fortune, but as the mother of six coming up to Christmas I can tell you, that deposit in my bank was very timely. Yesterday I became someone who makes things up for money, instead of just doing it as a hobby. Suddenly, it all seems real. The fact that there are nine more chunks of various sizes to come, on delivery of three manuscripts, three hardback publications and three softback publications, seems amazing. Humbling. Today, I paid back the credit card, which was groaning after our eighteen year old car needed major surgery in the autumn. Something I wrote - something I just made up then worked on - paid off a (admittedly, modest) bill. Of course, I'd make a lot more if I went back to work in a proper job as a psychologist, but this is so much fun. Work, yes, but I'm enjoying it. After all, I used to do this for fun, before there was any suggestion of payment!
I'm slightly uncomfortable, too. I have been privileged to read several books this year by amazingly talented writers, which are not, at this date, yet bought. These are books which have amazed me with their artistry, creating a tapestry of character and story in the beautifully precise use of words. So I feel grateful, but also lucky, because it is hard to get published. But not impossible, so I wish those writers every good fortune in 2013 in getting their books at the right time to the right editor.
I'm also very grateful to my agent, who kept the hope alive over a long, quiet summer. And my editor, who saw something he liked and offered for it. Those two have faith in my book, and in me, and now I just want to deliver the right books. The last bit of the puzzle - will anyone buy it? - remains to be seen.