A year and four books later…what have I learnt

Hi everyone,

At the end of January it will be nearly a year since I got the call from Mills and Boon Riva, accepting my book She’s So Over Him.

A lot has happened in a year and I’m trying to look back and catch my breath.

It was, for me, a turnaround year, one of shocking highs and serious lows. On the day that I got an e-mail from my editor saying that they wanted some last minute changes before they accepted the manuscript, I heard that my older sister had been seriously hurt in a head on car accident. We all waiting for news on her and I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the accident or my new career.

The next six months comprised of daily visits to the hospital, taking her food, keeping her company which took it out of me. She finally went home but she is still in a wheelchair, waiting for a hip replacement.

On the writing front: I was working on my second book and it was a disaster! I was quite convinced that I was a one book wonder and I simply couldn’t get it right. Flo, my editor, suggested that I ditch that book and start on something new. I wrote Wild About The Man in six weeks and loved every second of it.

I was just beginning to feel that I could cope with my day job, two very busy kids and my new writing career when my husband’s family owned textile mill caught fire and wiped out one of their weaving mills. It was a very stressful time for him and for all of us. They are back on track but the knocks kept coming when my husbands cousin, a man he was very close to, drowned while spear fishing off Madagascar.

And I was trying to write. In the mornings, evenings, weekends…while I was waiting to pick kids up from school, in doctor’s waiting rooms, waiting for meetings to start. By the end of the year I was flirting with burnout…utterly exhausted.

So, in the anniversary month of getting the call from Mills and Boon, I had my fourth book accepted for Riva/Kiss. Not too bad for a rookie writer, huh?

So, what have I learnt?

Shoo! Lots! I’ve learnt that I can actually write books that people enjoy, that writing feeds my soul and makes me happy. I’ve met so many more people on-line that I have greatly enriched my life. I’ve learnt that my fellow romance authors are a funny, wise, kind bunch of people who are just like my girlfriends at home.

I’ve learnt that I have more determination and guts than I actually thought I had. There were many times over the past year when I wandered whether this road was one I wanted to be on but I know now that writing keeps me sane.

I’ve learnt to ask questions, to ask for help. And when you do ask, people will help!

I’ve learnt to say no. With so much on my plate, I’ve had to say no to lots of things. Friends, causes, projects. And you know what? The world didn’t stop.

I’ve learnt to recognise stress in all its insidious forms and to recognise when to step back from my life and re-organise. I’ve learnt to be kinder to myself.

And that every choice I make has a consequence. That I am designing my life and it’s good. With all it’s craziness, it really is fantastic and I am so blessed.

I hope you are too.

Best wishes for a magical 2013!
Joss
xxx

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3 thoughts on “A year and four books later…what have I learnt

  1. Desere January 14, 2013 at 11:04 am Reply

    Awesome post Joss !

  2. Yolande Pienaar (@africaonbudget) January 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm Reply

    Joss, you’re such an inspiration to us all. Huge congratulations again on your numerous sales to RIVA and my sympathy about the tragedies that befell your family though the past year. I pray that the next year will hold only good things for you and your family and that we will see a lot more RIVA books with your name on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  3. Zee Monodee January 18, 2013 at 9:15 am Reply

    Your 2012 sounds insane, but I’m glad everything turned out okay in the end (except for the loss of a family member…).

    But right – you have to knuckle on. You’re the only one with the power to do that, to take your life and your career in your hands and forge on with what you feel is the best path for you. Your path is yours; never anyone else’s, so we all have to find what works for us and then stick to it.

    Here’s to a fantabulous 2013 for you, dear friend! Big hugs!

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