Fear, Courage and Being an Author
The universe certainly works in mysterious ways. I find it no surprise that on the week of our one year anniversary for my first cook book (Healthy Easy Dinners for Busy Mums) being released, the manuscript for my first published book is also due.
I have always loved writing and have dreamed of writing a published book for as long as I can remember. It was not however until a particular day when writing my thesis that I actually felt like I was a writer. I was down in Wellington for my first writing retreat after having Sahan. We had scheduled this before he was born as a bit of a break...well break from the kids and a chance to catch up on some sleep (like months of lost sleep really). When I booked into the hotel the receptionist said to me "oh you are the writer! We have a quiet room assigned for you". My heart soared. I loved how it just fitted me, even though it was my Doctoral thesis I was writing at the time – I was indeed a writer.
Self-publishing my cook book, while writing my thesis was one of the biggest steps into the unknown. So many times I was filled with doubt. I really had no idea how to pull a cook book together, let alone all on our own, while writing a thesis...and juggling two monkeys in there! It took me over two years from when I first started creating recipes with the idea to produce a cook book to when we actually got it printed. Often the book took a back seat, especially when Sahan was born but when I was able to, it was done literally doing a little bit each week.
As for my thesis....well many of you will have read my blogs on the tumultuous road to my thesis. The fear of failure I was up against every day…even right until the very end. Something you may not know was that my cook book was finished and ready to go about 8 weeks before the end of my thesis. As I needed to narrow my focus right down to get that thesis over the line I had to wait to release it. I physically recall the disappointment as I cried at the kitchen table with my husband feeling like I had failed despite all my work. Of course I had not failed, it just felt like it at the time.
What I did not know though was that year, the year of 2015 where I had another baby, finished my first cook book and finished my thesis provided me with a foundation for many years to come. It gave me with the courage to go to a publisher and tell them about my dreams for the books I intended on writing (you can read about this here). It gave me the courage to attempt writing this next book in less then six months while still working and running a business. Have I been faced with fears in these last few months – absolutely. At times the fear has been very palpable. We chose not to get paid an advance for this book for better royalties. This has been so hard while struggling to pay for two children in daycare.
But I am learning that fear is a good thing. Fear means you are doing something that will stretch you, that you can grow from. Every time I think I am stuck – I remember those long hard months writing my thesis, sometimes 20 hours a day, sleep deprived and so scared of letting my family down. I remember how we self published my cook book on a shoe string budget. We sourced everything from the photographers to the printers all ourselves. In fact, the night before the invoice for the copy editor was due we borrowed money from a friend to pay for this - Cara I will never forget this thank you.
I am still in the world of the unknown with my next book. I have not gone through the processing of publishing a book before like this. There seems to be so much to do to bring it all together, which I really have no idea about. I am scared that the publisher will not like it or the editor will turn it back and say I need to spend a lot longer reworking it. But now that it is almost written (smashing out over 35,000 words in five months) I am also very excited and that steps over all my fears. I am exited to get this book out there, to have it make a difference. I am proud of what I have done and I hope you will be too when you get to read it! For all of those that have brought my cook book, you have no idea what it means to me. I see all the orders that come through and it always puts a little smile on my face. I feel so happy knowing that someone else gets to enjoy the work I put together. That I get to touch and help a family in a small way through food.
Do you know what both my thesis and releasing my cook book taught me most of all? They taught me to never give up. They taught me to keep putting one foot in front of the other even when you get set backs so big you cannot see a way through. They taught me that I could do it.
That is what I am keeping close to me this week when my deadline seems daunting. The amount of work I achieved for my thesis in that last week still amazes me. I might not make it this week, I may need an extension or indeed some parts may need to be reworked but I am going to give it my best darn shot. I have worked so hard for this opportunity and I want with all my heart for this book to help so many families and their babies get the best food from the beginning. I just will not know if I do not try and if my cook book and thesis are anything to go by I may just pull it of....I am a writer now after all!
xxx Dr Julie Bhosale