One year ago today, I sent the manuscript of The Atomic Circus out into the great wide world of Kindle Publishing and made my debut as an author. In the 365 days that followed this act I have experienced more inspiring moments and met more interesting people than I ever have in any other year of my life. People say that the years go by more quickly once you’re past the age of twenty-one, but for me I feel that my life as a writer has slowed down the hectic hurtle that my academic and working life had been in previous years.
I did a few calculations, because that’s what I do when my brain has too much juice in it. In this last year I have written four novellas, four novels (two have yet to be published) and six short stories. That totals in at just shy of half a million words. Half a million words have fallen out of my brain and made it into the hands of readers the world over and, for the most part, they have been enjoyed. For the first time ever since trying on and off for years, I completed NaNoWriMo. I even completed it in just 15 days and then sat back and supported my other writing buddies instead. Looking back on this incredible year and all the ideas, characters and settings that my crazy mind has dreamt up, I finally feel authorised to say “I’m a writer” when people ask: “So, what do you do?”
I also have a publisher for some of my work; something I didn’t feel was going to be possible for a long, long time since I was starting out at the bottom of the self-pub ladder. When the email came through from Clean Teen Publishing to tell me they had accepted my manuscript, I was half passed-out in a taxi coming home from an exhausting day in Manchester. Their news lifted my adrenaline levels enough to get me home in one piece and I went to bed babbling about how I couldn’t believe they’d liked my work enough to put it into print. It was the very first time I’d ever sent anything to a publisher, so to be accepted so readily and so kindly was beyond my wildest dreams.
More than that though, this journey has unexpectedly led me to an incredible social world that is, quite frankly, much nicer to be part of than the world in which I actually live. I have met some fabulous new friends, one in particular that I was lucky enough to travel four thousand miles to meet up with for chatter and key lime pie, and I have been accepted into a supportive community full of creative and uncommonly kind people who support and inspire me every single day. They have encouraged me to believe in myself and my art and through their influence I am emboldened to explore new genres that I never considered myself capable of tackling and do some daring new things with my storytelling in this coming year.
Below this post is the real symbol that marks my 1 year writeaversary: the anthology edition of Caecilius Rex. It was Cae’s story that first hit the shelves and encouraged me to delve into this world of authorship and now I am proud to mark its completion with the 140,000 word epic that is Cae’s collected story. This one book was really all I had hoped to achieve by now when I sat down this time last year and hit the publish button for the very first time. I am thrilled to have been able to experience so much more along the way.