Yesterday, I caught up with a dear friend of mine. She is the kind of friend that always makes me see things clearer after we're together, makes me remember what's important. And she's a great support when it comes to what I do.
Everyone should have a friend like her.
As most of you know, I didn't start out a writer. Part of me still feels like the "writer hat" I wear most days doesn't quite fit like it should. But when I try to take it off, to shove it in a cupboard and forget I ever discovered it under my mountain of pencil skirts and grey suits, it somehow ends up being the first thing I reach for the next morning.
See, writing is part of who I am now. Not a day passes where I'm not thinking about my characters, or a pesky plot point, or whether I could make a certain scene stronger, or whether I'm any good at this at all. It is a massive roller coaster - the highs are dizzying and the lows can be crushing (and I'm not talking about reviews; I'm talking about that one sentence you spend hours polishing only to walk away in disgust one day, then nail it with the barest thought the next). But in the end, I can't live without it.
I like that what I do can make someone else's day brighter. I love opening up my inbox and getting messages from readers saying that because of my books their day/week/year is better. I'm humbled to hear that my books have made kids that don't like to read ignore facebook and TV and get lost in a world with my characters. I love that people care enough about my stories and characters that they actually want more.
I literally pinch myself each time I meet a new fan.
But the one thing I find when I get talking to people about what I do is that the reality of what I do day in, day out is very different to what they imagine. I don't sit down each morning in some awesome cafe opposite a beach and churn out a cool 1000 words before lunch. Most mornings I hit the box (what CrossFitters call a gym) at 5am with Ben (that's our alarm screeching at 4.25am), finish up around 6.30am, get cleaned up, have breakfast then sit down to write in my office around 8am. I usually start by reviewing my work from the day before, and maybe by 10am I'm onto writing fresh stuff. I write until noon-ish (sometimes later) then break for lunch. After lunch, I usually hit the keyboard for another few hours until it's time for Bold and the Beautiful (a guilty pleasure I blame on my mother) and then comes the dinner routine. On weekends I do the same (though only for two to three hours) but most months of the year this is a seven day a week gig. I've been told many times (mostly by former colleagues) that it's a lot of work for $0.99, and I tell them that I love it. They look at me like I'm crazy and I look at them like they're missing the point - because they are.
It is hard work but it is rewarding, and that makes me happy. It is an itch I have to scratch, it soothes my soul and I'll never do anything else.
I wish the same for you.
Happy reading, writing and dreaming.