It’s been a big year. A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald was published on April 26 and it’s so gratifying to walk into bookshops and see that it’s still on the shelf. I’ve learned a lot over the last six months since it was published and I thought I’d share my four biggest learnings with you.
Enjoy Each Moment
In the months before A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald was published, lots of people said things to me like: “you must be dying for April to arrive” and “I bet you just want it to be April right now”. But I didn’t. One of the best things about the months in the lead up to publication was simply enjoying the anticipation. The knowledge that I had so much to look forward to. The lack of pressure.
I think you have to enjoy each and every moment for what it is, without looking ahead to another moment that you think might be better. Because the truth is, you never know if it will be better. You can only know the moment you have right now in front of you. So if you try to make each moment the best it can be, I think you end up a lot happier. Then if something doesn’t turn out quite the way you expected, you still have all the other terrific moments to hold on to.
Also, I worked really hard on writing the book. If I was constantly looking ahead to the launch, or the the trip to Sydney, or the dinner in Melbourne or to some other moment as being the defining one in which it would feel like the peak moment, then I wouldn’t be rewarding myself for all my hard work. So my advice is to sit back, smile, enjoy, celebrate everything with champagne and be happy with every moment of the publishing process.
Be Happy With Publication
In a similar vein to the point above, I always try to remember that, when I was writing the book, all I wanted was for it to be published, I didn’t have a sales goal in mind, a royalties figure in mind, a number of territories into which I wanted the book to be sold. All I wanted was for a publisher in Australia to say, yes, we want to publish this book.
And I achieved that goal. So anything else is just icing on my already very delicious cake. I never, ever thought the book would be published in the US. So the US deal we were pursuing hasn’t come off yet but that doesn’t matter because it was never in my mind as something I wanted when I was writing the book. I haven’t sold 20,000 copies but, again, I never imagined I would.
I think sometimes achieving one goal can lead to us comparing ourselves to others, to thinking they’re doing better than we are. But, equally, I know there are so many aspiring writers who would love to be in my position. So I have tried to enjoy, without expectation, everything that has happened and to be happy with what I’ve achieved, rather than being disappointed at not achieving dreams that I’d never previously conceived of.
Meet Readers as Much as You Can
Readers are the most wonderful people. They love books and they love writers. If you’re ever having a down moment, meeting someone who tells you they loved your book makes it all worthwhile. Or meeting someone who tells you they loved your talk and now want to buy your book makes it all worthwhile. So, as much as I can, I try to say yes to events that get me out and about and meeting readers.
It’s like when you’re first starting out as a writer and you submit work to journals and competitions and you get a short story published or get short listed for a competition. Those little victories keep you going through the long process of writing a novel. Meeting readers keeps you going through the long process of publicising a book, which can sometimes seem like lots of late nights, lots of organising babysitting, lots of saying the same thing over again and lots of time away from writing.
Be More Super Organised Than Ever!
Did I mention the babysitting? I’m pretty sure I could write another book in the time it takes me to organise babysitting for all the different night events and trips over east. Most of you know I always love being organised. I think I’ve taken that to an entirely new level this year. But I’ve had to. My husband would have no idea which uniforms need to be washed on which days to make sure they’re clean for the next sport day.
So I’ve written lots of lists this year. Lists the kids can follow so they know which clothes go into the washing machine each night and which go into the laundry basket. Lists of which chores they have to do on which day. Lists of what they have to take to school on each day: cello books, piano books, library books, netball gear etc. It means that if I’m not there, all anyone has to do is look at one of the various lists and they all go to school with the right things and wearing the right clothes and I don’t need to be there. Which means that I can relax and focus on what I’m meant to be doing when I’m away.
Okay, I’ll stop there! There are probably 100 other things I’ve also learned but maybe that’s a whole new blog post. Would love to hear from you in the comments! x