My Roller Coaster Year

Published on Sunday 16th December 2012 by DJ Kirkby

In keeping with my promise to always be honest about what it is like to be an author (from my perspective) I have written this post about my roller coaster of a year.  I have used point form to keep it succinct but if you want more detail just ask in the comment section or email me.

My 2012 writing year started and ended on a high:

  1. I spent the year working as the Writer in Residence for Portsmouth Libraries.
  2. Realand – my first book for children – was published.

Sadly my writing year also included lows:

  1. To fit writing in around family time and full-time work I spent hours each day (7 days a week) writing during parts of the day that non-writers get to spend sleeping.
  2. My rather fabulous and lovely agent failed to place Special Deliveries despite overwhelmingly positive feedback from all but one of the editors that she sent it to.
  3. Trying to get my writing brain working again after a mega dose of anaesthetic while undergoing major surgery (much more difficult than I expected).

Having said that, my year also included other highs:

  1. Someone tweeted Clarence House to recommend My Mini Midwife as a pocket companion for the Duchess of Cambridge.
  2. Without Alice (my marmite novel) continues to sell well.
  3. My Dream of You was published on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and we had a rather fabulous champagne laden afternoon tea launch party to celebrate.
  4. I wrote the first draft of Raffie Island – the 2nd in my children’s book series – and  Queendom – book 3 – is planned in detail.
  5. Before my agent and I parted ways she suggested I self publish Special Deliveries because she still felt it was worthy of publication. I am considering doing just that.
  6. I signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement related to an exciting and innovative project that I very much want to be commissioned for. With any luck I will sign the contract by Spring 2013 and will then be able to tell you about the project.

So, how was your year?  Did you have any surprises?

24 comments so far

  • Thanks for sharing this, D. It’s been a real up and downy year for lots of us, I think. I started the year in a new rented house, dealing with a divorce and a new relationship and getting to know two new to-be-stepchildren. Now at the end of it I’m living by the seaside with my sweetheart, our six children, and life is glorious chaos. I also made the decision to self-publish my novel, mainly because so many people have asked to read it and I’m 40 in January, so it seems like a good combination of things to do. Here’s to 2013, lots of writing, and all the exciting things to come – and can’t wait to hear about your new project! R xx

  • Very interesting Denyse – rollercoaster year for me too! At beginning of the year finished off my first novel, sent it to a critique service who tore it apart and told me to write it again including several suggestions. After much wailing and nashing of teeth, I sat down and incorporated all she said in the re-write. Sent book off around November time to several small publishers, all but 1 have been interested and 2 have offered contracts already. Have decided to go with one of the companies who have offered a contract, which comes into effect 6th January 2013 – guess the critique service was right after all! Highs and lows, I’m beginning to learn, are all part and parcel of being a writer! Looking forward to hearing all about your new project too xxxx

  • Hallo Denyse. Haven’t seen your blog for ages. All best wishes to you! Good luck with your project.

    Funny old year. In January I wrote a short story for a competition. It failed to get anywhere. So in March I expanded the short story into the first chapter of a novel for another competition. It didn’t get anywhere either. I did however win £100 in a little writing competionette, so encouraged by this and having never written a novel before I wrote another twenty-two chapters and now have the first draft of a novel called provisionally ‘Boraya.’ – a romantic thriller set against the background of an ancient chocolate factory in St Petersburg, Russia, which is being sold by the state.

  • As one who has supported me through my very speical year, Denyse, I couldn’t let this blog post go without saying what an inspiration you are to me too. You just keep on going, no matter what. And on top of that you have a full-time job and a family to look after! You put me to shame, I only have Dexter 😉

    I wish you the very best for 2013 and may it bring more highs for you. The lows are all learning curves, they do happen for a reason but we don’t see it at the time. May we continue to inspire each other. Mel x

    • Thanks Mel, I can only aspire to the success you have well deservedly achieved this year. I am really pleased you never lost faith in yourself because it means I have your books to read! May you keep up the momentum and have a productive 2013 writing year so that I can keep my bookshelves stocked.

  • I’ve always been in awe of your determination to find time to write! You really deserve all the good things that have happened and that determination also means you haven’t been put off by the less-good. I wish you much happiness and success in 2013 and look forward to hearing about that new project.

    • Thanks Janet, sometimes it would have been so nice to just give up on writing and indulge in having a life again….the problem is I am not able to stop writing. I’m an addict! Wishing you wonderful things in 2013.

  • Oh lovely DJ! You have such great highs for this year and next year sounds like it’s going to be even more exciting for you! Wonderful!! Take care

  • Isn’t it wonderful how years do this! Most have their low moments, and they feel so discouraging at the time – but then the highs come and float us back to the surface again. Do hope you stay buoyant in 2013 – and do self publish Special Deliveries. We’re all looking forward to it.

    • Hi Jo, thank you. I do my best to keep focussed on the highs as it’s all too easy to lie in a deep rut, isn’t it? I will publish SD once I have saved the money to have it properly edited and pay for the cost of a cover…may not be 2013 but that’s the good thing about most books, it takes a long time for them to go out of date. I hope 2013 takes you on many more fascinating (and safe) adventures.

  • After experiencing the lows we always appreciate the highs that little bit more! And did you realise that your list of highs was twice as long as your list of lows? More so if you include the two highs at the beginning! *grins* Am very proud of you Mrs…you deserve the highs…you work bloody hard for them!

    I’ve had an interesting year and have made the decision to try working as an artist full time next year which is scary but exciting and i’m hoping to work with a certain author on an exciting collaboration! Hmmm, wonder who that could be? *is still grinning*

    C x

    • Carol, I am very proud of you for your exciting decision. It’s time you focussed on your art. And, as for our collaboration, I’m just too excited for words. I don’t even dare cross my fingers….may 2013 be supportive to us and our collaboration which is still just a fragile glimmer in our minds.

  • Great post and lots to look forward to and get excited about in 2013. How heartbreaking not to place SD but hope it is an ebook success and the other projects are the break-through you need, c x

    • Thanks Cesca. I will publish SD once I have saved the money to do it properly (good cover and professional edit) so it may not be this year…. I hope 2013 is generous to you too 🙂

  • Oooh, sounds about right! In my experience, when you leave caution and jump, things unfold in unexpected ways. Everything that’s worth getting comes with a lot of bumps on the way. I hope that I will get there soon myself (publish a book), so thanks for this insight. I’ll keep an eye on you and your progress. 🙂

  • Oh yes, I’ve had ups and downs a-plenty! I’m not surprised that the op has affected your writing brain cells. Mine use any excuse to close down these days. Hope you’re feeling stronger and that the writing muse will soon be back to full power. (Whoops! I think I’ve mixed metaphors!)

    • Thanks Rosalind, Nice to know it’s not just my brain cells misbehaving. I hope 2013 brings you enough time to do all the lovely things you have on your to do list.

    • Hi Talli, the ups definitely smooth out the rough edges of the downs. I am excited for you about how wonderful (and full of new beginnings) 2013 is going to be for you.

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