Friday a woman called me to tell me I'd won a prize in a writing contest I'd entered. It was an essay contest for a local business college. I entered earlier this year before my husband was leaving for university. Second prize was a laptop, so I told my husband don't buy a laptop for school I'll win you one. Friday they called to say I'd won the laptop. I was happy but not over the moon happy. Just pleased I'd accomplished what I set out to do.
Today, a publisher phoned to say she liked my three chapters for my novella and could I send the manuscript. That used to be a big deal. It wasn't today. It was nice, but slightly expected. (I hesitate to write that for fear hubris will bring wrath crashing down on me- but it's the truth)
Now I'm wondering what is up with me? Where has my excitement gone?
As I write this I have two children's books, two textbooks, a romance novella and a short story collection in the publishing pipeline on their way to becoming books- as a writer I should be very pleased. I'm happy and thankful because I know getting even one book published is a huge deal, but the sparkle has dimmed a bit, I feel ashamed to even say it, as if I'm ungrateful but I'm not. I'm really not. All the work I'm doing is for local publishing houses here in Botswana or in South Africa. I guess in my head I feel a bit like- "I've done this already".
I've been trying to figure out what exactly has flattened in my view. I guess I'm looking for a new challenge. Something where I can fail for awhile, so that when I finally succeed it feels earned- hard earned. Part of it too is I want to write a literary novel. I want to jump in with the big fish and get bashed about a bit. I know to do that I need time. I need a big block of time where I don't need to earn any money. I'm so hoping next year I will find that time. The credit crunch has taken a big bite out of my expected royalties for my five prescribed books, but I'm hoping I'll still be left with enough money to let me find the time to write. I have stories battering at the inside of my mind I need to let out, but these stories need some breathing room to find their correct size and form. They can't find that in the pressure cooker where I'm currently operating. When I let them out, they get a bit squashed and deformed and don't quite live up to what they could be. I hope next year, all the work I've put in will give me the space to get seriously challenged again by this writing gig.