The moving target of ‘success’

When I was 28, I wrote my first novel.  It was garbage, littered with clichés, adverbs and flowery similes. I printed one copy, then put it away – in the round filing cabinet that lives under my desk.

Roll forward twenty four years and I had another stab at it.  This one was better, but abandoned at the 45,000 words mark as the plot was weak and it ran out of steam.  ‘How come everyone’s written a book, if it’s this difficult?’ I thought.

The following year, I started a third.  And stuck with it – a 90,000 word contemporary women’s fiction novel called ‘Beginner’s Guide to Burb Watching’.  It took another year to edit and polish, and to find a publisher who liked it enough to back an unknown author.

Remarkably (to me at least), with the new moniker of Seeking Eden and a cover I never tire of looking at, that book is due for publication on 6th July. It’s very exciting, and it makes me smile to think of people being entertained or otherwise affected by something that formerly dwelt only in my imagination.

People keep congratulating me – which is lovely and I’m thankful.  But writing is a funny thing; it messes with your head.

When I started writing Seeking Eden, I thought: If I can just get to the end of this one, I’ll feel I’ve succeeded.  Once that was achieved, honing and polishing my rough manuscript became an ambition in itself.  And then I wanted to publish; to share my work with readers – which is kind of the point, isn’t it?

I was overjoyed when independent publisher Urbane offered to release Seeking Eden; at last, success was within my grasp!  Then like a shimmering mirage, as I walked towards it, success moved away, always ahead, warm and tantalising.  Now I see that writing a novel and even publishing one is not the Holy Grail.

So, new day, new objectives; now I want people to buy it, like it, and say nice things about it.  So when does writing a book begin to feel like a success?  Perhaps (dare to dream) when I’ve sold a few thousand copies?  Then again, knowing me, I’d want Seeking Eden made into a film or a three part BBC drama, with a stellar cast.  Some people are never happy!

Sincere thanks for all the wonderful support from friends and family and from my fellow Urbane authors – you are too kind and I am very grateful.

Seeking Eden is released 6th July on Urbane Publications.

3 responses to “The moving target of ‘success’”

  1. Andrew Smith says:

    Terrific piece, Beverly. So true. Love the ‘moving target’ comparison! My rather long-winded blog on the post-publication phenomena can be found here:

  2. Gina Kirkham says:

    Oh how true this is Beverley! I think we all suffer the same ‘if I can just…’ syndrome. I remember just wanting to reach those magical two words ‘the end’…but as soon as I’d typed them, I wanted more.
    We can write, but the words mean nothing without those that read them, so our neediness to be heard and enjoyed kicks the goalposts a few more feet away.
    I’m on the ‘checking Amazon reviews every 5 minutes’ stage, which has made me lose track of the plot on Coronation Street and left my hubby to quietly starve whilst waiting for his non-existent dinners! 😬

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